CapUHC – Building sustainable capacity for Universal Health Coverage

Candyce Silva, International Health Policy Program, Thailand
19 November 2014

In 2002 Thailand introduced a Universal Coverage scheme to provide all of its citizens with access to quality health services and financial protection from the high costs that care can entail. Funded through general taxation, the scheme is responsible for providing health insurance to a total of 47 million people who were previously uninsured.

Today, 97% of the Thai population benefits from some form of healthcare coverage, and evidence shows improvements in health equity and financial risk protection. These tremendous achievements by Thailand are the result of decades of commitment and work towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC), during which the country has developed significant knowledge and expertise in the field.

The focus now is on sharing this expertise with other countries that are aspiring to achieve UHC, especially low or middle-income countries with limited health budgets. Capacity Building for Universal Health Coverage, or CapUHC, is an agency set up for this purpose. Made up of eight Thai organizations including RESYST partner International Health Policy Program, CapUHC conducts various activities aimed at building social and intellectual capital in all essential areas of UHC such as resource mobilization, provider payment, use of IT, governance and health systems reform. It is responsible for arranging workshops, field visits, internships and apprenticeships, as well as providing technical assistance to Ministries of Health.

The agency also advocates for UHC at regional and global events including the Conference Series on Migrant Health in the Mekong Region held in Thailand, the 6th ASEAN Plus Three Health Minister’s Meeting in Hanoi, Viet Nam, and the Third Global Symposium on Health System Research in Cape Town, South Africa. Members have successfully used these events to share research findings in support of UHC with health policymakers from around the world.

Another channel that CapUHC can reach policymakers is the ASEAN Plus Three UHC network of which CapUHC is the current secretariat. The network is made up of Health Ministers from ASEAN countries plus China, Japan and Korea, and serves as a platform to support and accelerate progress towards well-functioning and sustainable UHC.

CapUHC continues to advance its mission to mobilize collaboration between partners, to build sustainable capacity on UHC through its workshops, and to participate in global UHC activities. In the coming months, CapUHC will conduct workshops on Hospital Accreditation and UHC with public health officials and professionals from Cambodia, India, Iran, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Zambia. CapUHC will also join more than 160 global organizations on December 12th 2014 to support UHC Day – a call for universal health coverage to be the foundation for sustainable development and a priority for all nations.

For more information on the program’s work to build global, social and intellectual capital for UHC visit the CapUHC website, follow CapUHC on Facebook and Twitter.

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