The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in national health systems around the world and exacerbated structural inequalities in access to health care. Its impact on people’s health and well-being has been widespread, from alarming decreases in routine vaccinations among children to significant spikes in substance use and depression. The pandemic has underscored the importance of emergency preparedness and the need to invest in health systems, lending greater urgency to global efforts aimed at achieving universal health coverage.
Under universal health coverage, all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without risking financial hardship. At the heart of this approach is a commitment to equity, so all individuals who need health services are able to get them, not only those who can afford them. Universal health coverage also focuses on ensuring a level of quality care that helps people achieve their desired health outcomes.