Universal Health Care


As of early 2019, WHO reported that at least half of the world’s population did not have full coverage of essential health services. Yet, with universal health care, those without coverage would be ensured access to health care services regardless of their socioeconomic status and background.

Many nations around the globe have made great strides in providing universal health care. In Latin America, the World Bank and other researchers have recognized several countries for their successes in universal health care, including

Argentina for its Maternal and Child Health Insurance program: Plan Nacer

Brazil for its Unified Health System, featuring: Family Health Strategy

Chile for its Social Health Insurance program

Colombia for its right to health care approach

Costa Rica for its focus on primary care


Current Priority Area within Universal Health Care


In 2018, HENA’s leadership identified primary health as an initial focus within the universal health care policy work needed. We encourage our members and others to learn about this area, take action and support campaigns that will help to promote primary care for all populations within your communities.

HENA’s goal is to promote work conducted by its members and organizations to advance universal health care coverage in the Americas. We invite those working on UHC policies and research to contact us to determine how our work can complement one another.


Primary Health Care

Primary health care (PHC) takes into account the needs of individuals, families and communities. It is lifelong health care, not just treatment for specific conditions or diseases. PHC services range from promotion, prevention and treatment of diseases.

Scholars and others believe that primary care can be a path or framework for offering universal health care to all. In fact, in 2018, world health leaders offered the Declaration of Astana that affirms the role PHC can take to ensure health care access and services for all populations.

HENA embraces the Declarations’ four messages and encourages its members and others to support PHC work that recognizes:


  1. PHC for health must be a global priority.

  2. Reinvigorating PHC must draw on progress made in last 40 years.

  3. Decision makers must be made accountable for results.

  4. Success will only happen when all stakeholders join the effort.



UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 


Of its 17 goals for sustainable development, one of the goals of the UN 2030 agenda works toward this HENA policy focus area to ensure universal health care for all populations:

Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages




Recommendations from the Commission of PAHO on Health Equity and Health Inequalities in the Americas

HENA’s work is also in step with recommendations released from PAHO in September 2018, specifically those found within Recommendations 3 and 10:

  • Recommendation 3: Reversing the health equity impacts of ongoing colonialism and structural racism
  • Recommendation 10: Equitable health systems



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Click here for Current Campaigns Promoting Universal Health Care



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