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Learning for Universal Health Coverage
  1. Bruno Meessen1,
  2. EL Houcine Akhnif2,
  3. Joël Arthur Kiendrébéogo3,4,5,
  4. Abdelali Belghiti Alaoui6,7,
  5. Kefilath Bello5,8,
  6. Sanghita Bhattacharyya9,10,
  7. Hannah Sarah Faich Dini11,
  8. Fahdi Dkhimi12,
  9. Jean-Paul Dossou5,8,
  10. Allison Gamble Kelley13,
  11. Basile Keugoung14,
  12. Tamba Mina Millimouno15,
  13. Jérôme Pfaffmann Zambruni11,
  14. Maxime Rouve5,
  15. Isidore Sieleunou16,17,
  16. Godelieve van Heteren18
  1. 1Collective Horizon, Lier, Belgium
  2. 2World Health Organization, Rabat, Morocco
  3. 3Department of Public Health, University Joseph Ki-Zerbo,Health Sciences Training and Research Unit, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
  4. 4Heidelberg Institute of Global Health, Medical Faculty and University Hospital, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany
  5. 5Department of Public Health, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
  6. 6Collective Horizon, Rabat, Morocco
  7. 7Ecole Nationale de Santé Publique, Rabat, Morocco
  8. 8Public Health, Centre de recherche en Reproduction Humaine et en Démographie, Cotonou, Benin
  9. 9Collective Horizon, New Delhi, India
  10. 10Community Health Community of Practice, New Delhi, India
  11. 11UNICEF, New York, NY, USA
  12. 12World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
  13. 13Results for Development, Geneva, Switzerland
  14. 14Collective Horizon, Yaounde, Cameroon
  15. 15Centre National de Formation et de Recherche en Santé Rurale de Maferinyah, Forécariah, Guinea
  16. 16Médecine Sociale et Préventive, Université de Montréal, Ecole de Sante Publique, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  17. 17Collective Horizon, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  18. 18Collective Horizon, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Bruno Meessen; bmeessen{at}


The journey to universal health coverage (UHC) is full of challenges, which to a great extent are specific to each country. ‘Learning for UHC’ is a central component of countries’ health system strengthening agendas. Our group has been engaged for a decade in facilitating collective learning for UHC through a range of modalities at global, regional and national levels. We present some of our experience and draw lessons for countries and international actors interested in strengthening national systemic learning capacities for UHC. The main lesson is that with appropriate collective intelligence processes, digital tools and facilitation capacities, countries and international agencies can mobilise the many actors with knowledge relevant to the design, implementation and evaluation of UHC policies. However, really building learning health systems will take more time and commitment. Each country will have to invest substantively in developing its specific learning systemic capacities, with an active programme of work addressing supportive leadership, organisational culture and knowledge management processes.

  • health systems

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  • Handling editor Seye Abimbola

  • Twitter @jarthurk, @jdossou80, @isieleunou

  • Contributors All the authors have actively contributed to at least one of the knowledge management activities reported in this practice paper. BM authored the first version of the paper summarising the collective experience. Other co-authors contributed with comments. Editing was finalised by GvH and AGK.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests BM holds minority shares in Blue Square, a firm developing software solutions for health systems, including for PBF programmes. Other authors have no conflict of interest.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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

  • Data availability statement There are no data in this work.

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