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Lancet. 2016 Feb 20;387(10020):811-6. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60002-2. Epub 2015 Aug 21.

Moving towards universal health coverage: lessons from 11 country studies.

Author information

Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Sociology, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA.
Keio University, Tokyo, Japan.
Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice, The World Bank, Washington, DC, USA. Electronic address:
Results for Development Institute, Washington, DC, USA.
Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice, The World Bank, Washington, DC, USA.
House of Councillors, The National Diet of Japan, Tokyo, Japan.

Erratum in

  • Lancet. 2016 Feb 20;387(10020):750. Cashin, Cheryl [added]; Araujo, Edson C [added].


In recent years, many countries have adopted universal health coverage (UHC) as a national aspiration. In response to increasing demand for a systematic assessment of global experiences with UHC, the Government of Japan and the World Bank collaborated on a 2-year multicountry research programme to analyse the processes of moving towards UHC. The programme included 11 countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Peru, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam), representing diverse geographical, economic, and historical contexts. The study identified common challenges and opportunities and useful insights for how to move towards UHC. The study showed that UHC is a complex process, fraught with challenges, many possible pathways, and various pitfalls--but is also feasible and achievable. Movement towards UHC is a long-term policy engagement that needs both technical knowledge and political know-how. Technical solutions need to be accompanied by pragmatic and innovative strategies that address the national political economy context.

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