Health research is essential for progress towards universal health coverage

At the launch of the “World health report 2013: Research for universal health coverage”,  WHO has called on countries to continue investing in local research in order to develop a system of universal health coverage tailored to each individual country’s situation. With universal health coverage, countries can help ensure that citizens obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them.  In launching the “World health report 2013: Research for universal health coverage”, Dr Chan says “universal coverage is the best way to cement the health gains made during the previous decade. It is a powerful social equalizer and the ultimate expression of fairness.”

The report shows how countries, when developing a system for universal health coverage, can use research to determine what health issues should be addressed, how a system should be structured and how to measure progress according to their specific health situation.  The report reveals that, on average, domestic investment in research in low- and middle-income countries has been growing 5% each year. This trend is most visible in emerging economies such as Brazil, China and India, all of which have embraced the concept of universal health coverage.

To meet the challenges, WHO encourages international donors and national governments not only to invest in research, but also to support mechanisms for sharing information and data, to strengthen research training and institutions, and to measure progress against their own commitment to achieving universal health coverage.

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