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Report UNICO Studies Series 25

The impact of universal coverage schemes in the developing world: a review of the existing evidence


Publication date

Jan 2013


The World Bank supports the efforts of countries to share prosperity by transitioning toward universal health coverage (UHC) with the objectives of improving health outcomes, reducing the financial risks associated with ill health, and increasing equity. The Bank recognizes that there are many paths toward UHC and does not endorse a particular path or set of organizational or financial arrangements to reach it. Regardless of the path chosen, the quality of the instruments and institutions countries establish to implement UHC are essential to its success. Countries will face a variety of challenges during the implementation phase as they strive to expand health coverage. With that in mind, the World Bank launched the Universal Health Coverage Studies Series (UNICO Studies Series) to develop knowledge and operational tools designed to help countries tackle these implementation challenges in ways that are fiscally sustainable and that enhance equity and efficiency. The UNICO Studies Series consists of technical papers and country case studies that analyze different issues related to the challenges of UHC policy implementation.The case studies in the series are based on the use of a standardized protocol to analyze the nuts and bolts of 27 programs in 25 countries that have expanded coverage from the bottom up, starting with the poor and vulnerable. The protocol consists of 300 questions designed to elicit a detailed understanding of how countries are implementing five sets of policies to accomplish the following:• Manage the benefits package• Manage processes to include the poor and vulnerable• Nudge efficiency reforms to the provision of care• Address new challenges in primary care• Tweak financing mechanisms to align the incentives of different stakeholders in the health sector


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