Universal Health Coverage (UHC) means everyone can access the quality health services without facing financial hardship.

Universal Health Coverage Day is celebrated on 12 December every year. This day is the anniversary of the first unanimous United Nations resolution calling for countries to provide affordable, quality health care to every person, anywhere in the world.

Universal health coverage has been included in the new sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations.


All people, including the poorest and most vulnerable.


Full range of essential health services, including prevention, treatment, hospital care and pain control.


Costs shared among entire population through pre- payment and risk-pooling, rather than shouldered by the sick. Access should be based on need and unrelated to ability to pay.

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) stands for ensuring equitable access for all the citizens in any part of the country, regardless of income level, social status, gender, caste or religion. It aims to provide affordable, accountable, appropriate health service of assured quality. As such it includes preventive, curative and rehabilitative care.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), at least one billion people around the world cannot afford health care services which they need. Approximately, 150 million people are subjected to financial crisis annually and 100 million are pushed below the poverty line as a result of payment which they have to make.
India is committed to provide Universal Health Coverage for all during 12th Plan period (2012-2017). A High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) was constituted by the Planning Commission. While financial protection was the principal objective of this initiative, it was recognized that the delivery of UHC also requires the availability of adequate healthcare infrastructure, skilled health workforce and access to affordable drugs and technologies.

Why Universal Health Coverage?

Universal Health Coverage is the right of every human being to enjoy physical and mental health, without distinction of race, religion, political belief, and socio-economic status. Every human being deserves a decent standard of living which includes health and well-being of the family, food, clothing, housing and medical care. These are essential to take care of circumstances such as unemployment, sickness, accidents, disability, widowhood, or old age.  Good health is the basis for a long term economic development. Countries adopting universal health coverage gain double benefits- healthier communities and stronger economies.
Universal coverage is firmly based on the 1948 WHO Constitution, which declares health as a fundamental human right and commits to ensuring the highest attainable level of health for all. 



Ten principles have guided the formulation of UHC in India:
  1. Universality
  2. Equity
  3. Non-exclusion and non-discrimination
  4. Comprehensive care that is rational and of good quality
  5. Financial protection
  6. Protection of patients’ rights
  7. Provision for strong  public health
  8. Accountability and transparency
  9. Community participation
  10. Putting health in people hands
Benefits of Universal Health Coverage:
  • Improved health of the population
  • Efficient, accountable and transparent health system
  • Reduction in poverty
  • Greater productivity
  • Increased jobs
  • Financial protection
  • Greater equity

10 Facts on Universal Health Coverage
Universal Health coverage in India- report

UHC is a means to promote the human right to health.