Sometimes the people who know best are, well, the people. Achieving the fundamental objectives of UHC and meeting the challenges of governing complex health systems requires people-centered schemes that include formal mechanisms to bring civil society and communities into the design and implementation of UHC programmes.
In its second issue, The Strengthening Health Systems journal has published an MSH editorial titled, “People-centered health systems for UHC: How to put people first while increasing health service access.” Written by MSH CEO Jonathan Quick, Senior Writer Jonathan Jay, and Research & Communications Specialist Chelsey Canavan, this editorial discusses a people-centered approach to UHC, highlighting three areas where civil society and communities play vital roles: ensuring the right services are provided under an essential package of health services, removing barriers to care such as user fees, and ensuring equitable access to health services.
In each of these areas and at every level of the health system, citizen representation is essential. Bringing communities into the process at every step in the design and implementation of UHC will help ensure meaningful increases in equity and improvements in health outcomes for the people the health system is meant to serve.