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Accelerating progress towards universal health coverage in Asia and Pacific: improving the future for women and children
  1. Allison Beattie1,
  2. Robert Yates1,
  3. Douglas J Noble2
  1. 1Chatham House, London, UK
  2. 2Unicef Regional Office for South Asia, Kathmandu, Nepal
  1. Correspondence to Dr Douglas Noble; djnoble{at}


Universal health coverage generates significant health and economic benefits and enables governments to reduce inequity. Where universal health coverage has been implemented well, it can contribute to nation-building. This analysis reviews evidence from Asia and Pacific drawing out determinants of successful systems and barriers to progress with a focus on women and children. Access to healthcare is important for women and children and contributes to early childhood development. Universal health coverage is a political process from the start, and public financing is critical and directly related to more equitable health systems. Closing primary healthcare gaps should be the foundation of universal health coverage reforms. Recommendations for policy for national governments to improve universal health coverage are identified, including countries spending < 3% of gross domestic product in public expenditure on health committing to increasing funding by at least 0.3%/year to reach a minimum expenditure threshold of 3%.

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  • Handling editor Seye Abimbola

  • Twitter Follow Rob Yates at @yates_rob and Douglas Noble at @douglasnoblemd

  • Contributors AB drafted the first version, and RY and DJN edited the manuscript. This paper is based on a longer thematic report released on 7 November 2016 at the Asia Pacific High Level Meeting on Child Rights.

  • Funding This work was funded from the resources of Unicef and Chatham House.

  • Disclaimer This paper is based on a longer thematic report presented on November 7th and 8th, 2016 at the UNICEF High Level Meeting on South-South Cooperation for Child Rights in Asia and the Pacific. The opinions expressed in this paper are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of UNICEF or any other agency.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

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