Campaign Essentials “Health is a human right. No one should get sick or die just because they cannot access the services they need.” –

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus


The World Health Organization was founded on the principle that all people should be able to realize their right to the highest possible level of health. Its Constitution came into force on 7 April 1948. “#HealthForAll” has therefore been WHO’s guiding vision for more than seven decades. It’s also the impetus behind the current organization-wide drive to support countries in moving towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Experience has illustrated, time and again, that Universal Health Coverage is achieved when political will is strong. So in this 70th anniversary year, WHO is calling on world leaders to live up to the pledges they made when they agreed the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, and commit to concrete steps to advance the health of all people. This means ensuring that everyone, everywhere, receive the health services they need without facing financial hardship. The Organization will maintain a high-profile focus on universal health coverage via a series of events through 2018, starting on World Health Day on 7 April with global and local conversations about ways to achieve #HealthForAll.”

Why universal health coverage matters?

Countries that invest in universal health coverage make a sound investment in their human capital. In recent decades, universal health coverage has emerged as a key strategy to make progress towards other health-related and broader development goals. Access to essential quality care and financial protection not only enhances people’s health and life expectancy, it also protects countries from epidemics, reduces poverty and the risk of hunger, creates jobs, drives economic growth, and enhances gender equality. What World Health Day can do? Some countries have already made significant progress towards universal health coverage. But half the world’s population is still unable to obtain the health services they need. If countries are to achieve the SDG target, one billion more people need to benefit from universal health coverage by 2023. World Health Day will shine a spotlight on the need for universal health coverage – and the advantages it can bring. WHO and its partners will share examples of steps to take to get there through a series of events and conversations held at multiple levels.

Throughout 2018, we aim to inspire, motivate and guide universal health coverage stakeholders to make commitments towards universal health coverage:

Inspire: By highlighting policy-makers’ power to transform the health of their nation, framing the challenge as exciting and ambitious, and inviting them to be part of the change.

Motivate: By sharing examples of how countries are already progressing towards universal health coverage and encourage others to find their own path

Guide: By providing tools for policy advocacy on how to advance universal health coverage domestically or supporting such efforts in other countries (e.g. expanding service coverage, improving quality of services, reducing out-of-pocket payments).

Theme, slogan and hashtag  The theme of World Health Day is: Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere.  The slogan is “#HealthForAll”.  The primary hashtags are #HealthForAll and #WorldHealthDay.


The posters can be downloaded here: Posters are available in JPG format for use on screen, and in PDF format, in high resolution, for professional printing. Please note that WHO-branded materials should be used as is. We have developed a set of posters to get the campaign started – in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish, WHO’s six official languages. Each poster shows people or communities that receive health services and/or provide health services.

Key messages for World Health Day 2018

Too many people are currently missing out on health coverage What universal health coverage is

 Universal health coverage means that all people and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship.

 Universal health coverage enables everyone to access the services that address the most important causes of disease and death and ensures that the quality of those services is good enough to improve the health of the people who receive them.

What universal health coverage is not

 Universal health coverage does not mean free coverage for all possible health interventions, regardless of the cost, as no country can provide all services free of charge on a sustainable basis. “Universal” in universal health coverage means “for all”, without discrimination, leaving no one behind. Everyone everywhere has a right to benefit from health services they need without falling into poverty when using them. Here are some facts and figures about the state of universal health coverage today:

 At least half of the world’s people is currently unable to obtain essential health services.

 Almost 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty, forced to survive on just $1.90 or less a day, because they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets.

 Over 800 million people (almost 12 percent of the world’s population) spend at least 10 percent of their household budgets on health expenses for themselves, a sick child or other family member. They incur so-called “catastrophic expenditures”.

 Incurring catastrophic expenses for health care is a global problem. In richer countries in Europe, Latin America and parts of Asia, which have achieved high levels of access to health services, increasing numbers of people are spending at least 10 percent of their household budgets on out-of-pocket health expenses.

 Universal health coverage is about ensuring all people can get quality health services, where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship.

 Health is a human right. No one should have to choose between good health and other life necessities.

 Universal health coverage is key to people and nations’ health and well-being.

 Universal health coverage is feasible. Some countries have made great progress. Their challenge is to maintain coverage to meet people’s expectations.

 All countries will approach universal health coverage in different ways: there is no one size fits all. But every country can do something to advance universal health coverage.

 Making health services truly universal requires a shift from designing health systems around diseases and institutions towards health services designed around and for people.

 Everyone – individuals, communities, cities, health professionals, civil society organizations, media, governments – can play a part in the path to universal health coverage, by taking part in a universal health coverage conversation

 Universal health coverage is not only about ensuring a minimum package of health services, but also about ensuring a progressive expansion of coverage of health service and financial protection as more resources become available.

 Universal health coverage is not only about medical treatment for individuals, but also includes services for whole populations such as public health campaigns – for examples adding fluoride to water or controlling the breeding grounds of mosquitos that carry viruses that can cause disease.

 Universal health coverage is not just about health care and financing the health system of a country. It encompasses all components of the health system: systems and healthcare providers that deliver health services to people, health facilities and communications networks, health technologies, information systems, quality assurance mechanisms and governance and legislation.

How you can get involved in World Health Day 2018?

A few ideas as to what you could do


 Engage in structured conversations with a broad range of community stakeholders who are both affected by and essential to ensuring universal health coverage.

 Capture the population’s demands, opinions and expectations on universal health coverage-related matters to improve policy responses. The population can be consulted, e.g. through face-to-face dialogue, surveys or a referendum.

 Collaborate with grassroots organizations and champions for universal health coverage to explore feasible universal health coverage solutions. Everyone has a part to play; stimulating conversations and contributing to structured dialogue towards policies that help your country achieve and maintain universal health coverage. Specifically,

 Individuals use their voice to demand good health services and financial protection.

 Citizens debate and form collective views they convey to both the legislative and executive branches of government.

 Political parties frame their programmes to meet the expressed needs of their supporters.

 Parliamentary health committees and health groups mediate between those that develop policy and those that execute it.

 Government implements policy change to improve health and spur economic growth and social development.

 Professional associations protect the welfare of the workforce.

 Civil society organizations work on the ground to represent the voice and the concerns of different population groups.

 The media increase understanding of universal health coverage as well as transparency and accountability in policy-making. To whatever group you belong, you can take a lead, too.

Individuals, civil society and health workers

 Communicate your needs, opinions and expectations to local policy-makers, politicians, ministers and other people representatives.

 Make the necessary noise to ensure your community health needs are taken into account and prioritized at the local level, including through social media.

 Invite civil society organizations to help raise your community needs to your policy-makers.

 Share your stories as affected communities and patients with the media.

 Organize activities like discussion fora, policy debates, concerts, marches and interviews to provide people an opportunity to interact with their representatives on the topic of universal health coverage via media and social media.


 Highlight initiatives and interventions that help to improve access to quality services and financial protection for people and communities.  Show what happens when people cannot obtain the services they need.

 Hold policy-makers and politicians accountable, e.g. through documentaries on universal health coverage pledges they have made and strengths, weaknesses and new challenges to be addressed (e.g. increase in noncommunicable diseases; population ageing).

 Create platforms for dialogue between beneficiaries, communities, their representatives and policy-makers, e.g. through talk shows, interviews and radio debates. Share information and join conversations on social media

Throughout the campaign we will be communicating via our social media channels: (@WHO)

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