Participate in a UN survey to hold governments accountable for financial protection in health

Following the 2016 United Nations General Assembly, UHC coalition partners are encouraging your participation to secure the SDG indicator for financial protection in health.

28 September 2016

Earlier this year hundreds of individuals and organisations, including RESYST research director, Prof. Kara Hanson, campaigned to preserve and re-word the UHC financial indicator. Following that pressure the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG indicators have opened the UHC indicator 3.8.2 for revision.

You can help to ensure that this work is followed through by completing the official UN Survey by Wednesday 28 September. Please pay particular attention to the box on indicator 3.8.2 (shown below)

If required, the UHC coalition have provided the following suggested language:

[We/organization name] strongly support the proposed refinement as a replacement to, and not an addition to, the current indicator 3.8.2. The refined indicator is a meaningful measure of financial protection, meaning that it will actually measure whether the number of people paying excessive payments for health out of their own pockets is going up or down.

The refined indicator allows for disaggregation, including by income and gender, as is required, and it was proposed by the World Health Organization and the World Bank Group after a three year open and transparent consultation process with the global health community. Data for household expenditure on health can be collected for this refined indicator from existing nationally representative household surveys.

The current indicator 3.8.2 'coverage by health insurance or a public health system' should be removed as wholly unsuitable. It is methodologically unsound to equate financial protection in health to coverage by 'health insurance' or a 'public health system', because it is entirely possible that health insurance or a public health system could fail to protect people from being plunged into poverty because of health care costs.

Further, the current indicator sends a dangerous message that all health insurance schemes are welcome, without encouraging a careful and critical look at whether these insurance schemes are, in fact, ensuring access to quality health services without financial hardship. In reality, while some countries have used insurance schemes to great success, many health insurance schemes, especially voluntary schemes, have directly exacerbated inequality and have left the most vulnerable unprotected.