Universal Health Coverage - Doctors of the World

Universal Health Coverage

May 9, 2023 – Today, Doctors of the World will be at the United Nations in New York, representing the Médecins du Monde International Network at the Multi-Stakeholder Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC). This hearing gathers together global health actors in the lead-up to the High Level Meeting on UHC, which will be held on September 28 during the annual UN General Assembly. 

Universal Health Coverage represents the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.8. Its target is to ensure that all individuals and communities receive the quality health services they need without suffering financial hardship. At its core, it means leaving no one behind, especially marginalized communities who often face legal and structural barriers to accessing public health systems. 

UHC represents a rights-based approach to health, globally. Only by recognizing access to health as a fundamental human right can we ensure the establishment of inclusive, non-discriminatory, and holistic health systems. But many marginalized communities are denied full access to healthcare. This is also the case in countries which have formally declared achievement of UHC.

UHC is not only an issue in poor countries – it is an issue of equality and human rights everywhere.


At Doctors of the World, in our domestic and international programs we work with marginalized people who lack access to health services, and witness the social, economic and political determinants that shape people’s health and well-beling. Groups excluded vary, but often include poor and rural communities, women and girls, migrants and refugees, sexual minorities, drug users and prisoners.

Yet achieving UHC is still a long way off. According to the World Health Organization, half of the world’s population does not have access to the healthcare they need, over 930 million people spend at least 10% of their household income on healthcare, and approximately 100 million people are driven into poverty each year from the cost of healthcare. It is the responsibility of states to build an inclusive and equitable health system. 

Doctors of the World will be present at the Multi-Stakeholder Meeting to exchange and share our views on key priorities for the High-Level Meeting in September, and to reaffirm our vision of health for all.

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