Peoples for Health Movement calls to revoke harmful health indicator

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, April 5, 2016

ESCR-Net member Peoples for Health Movement, in parallel with 270 civil society organizations, has released an urgent call to the UN to revoke weak and harmful indicator 3.8.2. that measures Universal Health Coverage (UHC). 

These organizations have expressed concern regarding the recent amendment, as this proposed new indicator- “the number of people covered by health insurance or a public health system per 1000 population”- not only fails to meaningfully measure progress toward the UHC but could harmfully label growing inequity and less financial protection for health as progress.  

3.8.2 must be tracked through two indicators: coverage and financial protection. Progress towards universal financial protection must be measured through decreased catastrophic payment and decreased impoverishment when people access health services. This is critical to ensure nothing is left behind. The original UHC indicator for 3.8.2 developed following 3 years of technical consultation by the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank achieves this aim. 

The proposed new indicator to measure “coverage by health insurance or a public health system" does not achieve this aim of measuring progress towards decreasing financial burden and thus achieving universal financial protection. To elaborate, this indicator does not achieve this aim for reasons including health insurance possessing no universal meaning or definition and therefore doesn’t work for cross-country comparisons, insurance being not a measure or guarantee of financial risk protection and the new indicator risks promoting voluntary insurance schemes against a large body of evidence that such schemes do not advance UHC.

Above all, the proposed new indicator is not responding to the central pledge of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework- to see the targets met for all nations and peoples, for all segments of society and the promise to leave no one behind.

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Photo Credit: Peoples Health Movement

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