Universal Health Coverage

Universal health coverage (UHC)  is grounded in the principle that health is a human right. UHC is an aspiration rather than an intervention or a strategy. It means that people can access health care when they need it, without financial hardship. The private sector has an unprecedented opportunity to support governments, program implementers, and donors in achieving universal health coverage, including access to family planning services.

SHOPS Plus contributes to efforts to reach UHC by working to strengthen health systems and provide financial risk protection for those who need it most. Achieving the underlying objectives of UHC–equity, quality, and financial protection–requires public-private collaboration.

SHOPS Plus promotes private sector participation in initiatives that support UHC by:

  • Expanding health programs that include private providers
  • Building and disseminating evidence on best practices for private sector engagement in UHC
  • Brokering partnerships between public and private health actors
  • Advocating for public-private dialogue on the role of the private sector
  • Equipping private health providers with clinical and business skills, and access to finance to expand the scope of their practices and to improve quality of care

Examples of our work

Recognizing that there are many pathways to achieve UHC, SHOPS Plus assessed common health financing programs and their significance for family planning, paying particular attention to government-sponsored health insurance schemes. The project looked at the role of private providers and provider payment mechanisms on the performance of health financing programs. A publication discusses the implications of this assessment and what family planning advocates can do to champion more effective coverage. A subsequent publication presents the experiences of small and medium providers who participate in health financing programs, particularly government-sponsored programs. It cites examples from the Dominican Republic, Ghana, India, Kenya, the Philippines, and Tanzania.

In October 2016, SHOPS Plus convened 30 individuals representing a dozen organizations to discuss how to expand access to family planning and sustain its financing under UHC initiatives. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID co-sponsored the daylong meeting, in which donor and implementer organizations shared their insights and evidence. In January 2018, SHOPS Plus continued this important dialogue with private sector stakeholders and how they can support financing for and access to quality private sector family planning services at a workshop, “Developing Sustainable Financing for Family Planning in sub-Saharan Africa”. The five-day workshop, sponsored by USAID and held in Accra, Ghana, drew 150 attendees from 13 Family Planning 2020 priority countries. 

Countries: Madagascar, Senegal, Tanzania

Resources about Universal Health Coverage



Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus is a five-year cooperative agreement (AID-OAA-A-15-00067) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This website is made possible by the generous support of the American people through USAID. The information provided on this website is not official U.S. government information and does not represent the views or positions of USAID or the U.S. government.

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