Countries in Asia and the Pacific have taken steady steps to progress towards UHC. The inclusion of UHC as a target under Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has provided fresh impetus to these efforts. As countries face changing population health needs due to epidemiological and demographic transitions and rising health care costs, ensuring access by all to quality and affordable health services has become increasingly challenging. The approaching 40th anniversary of the Alma Ata Declaration presents a significant opportunity for countries to renew their efforts in strengthening primary health care as the foundation of UHC and rethinking the role of hospitals within primary health care and UHC.
The WHO Western Pacific Regional Office supports countries to accelerate progress towards UHC, in line with the regional action framework Universal Health Coverage: Moving Towards Better Health. The UHC Forum 2017 will be held from 13-14 December 2017 in Tokyo, with the World Bank, the government of Japan, JICA, WHO, UNICEF, the International Health Partnership for UHC2030 and other partners as co-organizers. The Forum aims to stimulate global and country-level progress towards UHC, including pandemic preparedness, through the joint review of UHC progress and sharing of country experiences.
The WHO Regional Office of the Western Pacific will convene a full-day side event at the UHC Forum 2017, titled “The Asia-Pacific pathway to universal health coverage”, in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Asian Development Bank Institute and the Seoul National University Graduate School of Public Health (WHO Collaborating Centre for Health System and Financing). The project provides the background paper which is a scoping review of current evidence on community engagement in the UHC process in the WHO WPRO countries.