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Making universal health coverage work for women and youth

23 April 2018

Putting sexual and reproductive health at the centre of universal health coverage reforms

Access to quality and affordable health services is a fundamental human right. Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is crucial to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and is enshrined in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 3.8. This goal, however, can only become a reality if women and young people are put front and centre of UHC policies, and if their sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights are made a priority.

The achievement of UHC cannot be fulfilled without progress on another key SDG target, (3.7) on ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning. These mutually reinforcing goals must be pursued together to ensure overall success.

In Asia-Pacific and beyond, countries wishing to meet UHC targets should ensure that access to sexual and reproductive health is truly universal. Sexual and reproductive health services should be comprehensive, combining a broad range of services including health promotion and preventive and curative services. They should be responsive to the specific needs of different groups, and accessible to everyone, including to the most vulnerable.

Access to, and coverage of, SRH services under UHC schemes has improved considerably in Asia-Pacific in recent years, but advances are uneven. To track progress and prospects, UNFPA commissioned a review of access to SRH services in six Asia-Pacific nations; Universal Health Coverage for Sexual and Reproductive Health in the Asia Pacific Region. The report illustrates the current status of UHC and sexual reproductive health policies across the region, and analyses the situation in six countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Thailand and Viet Nam, and offers key policy recommendations to boost progress. A related policy brief is also available. 

For more information please contact Dr. Anderson Stanciole, Health Economics Advisor, UNFPA Asia-Pacific Regional Office at stanciole@unfpa.org