Working Group on Global Health Security & Universal Health Coverage

Exploring the intersections of two of global health's most important initiatives


Recent outbreaks of Ebola virus, Zika virus, Lassa Fever, MERS and Yellow Fever have enhanced the priority afforded to infectious diseases in all countries. One of the key lessons from these outbreaks is that resilient national health systems across the world play a crucial role in global health security. Donors and key international institutions such as the World Health Organization and World Bank have highlighted the need for a better public health infrastructure, capable of surveillance and information-gathering.

Yet, health ministers from around the world have stressed that universal health coverage (UHC) – accessible and affordable health services – is also necessary for their inhabitants, including lawful residents, migrants, and refugees. The result has been to link the global health security and universal health coverage agendas. Universal health coverage is a leading health target in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

But does progress towards universal health coverage indeed imply progress towards global health security and vice-versa? This working group – a collaboration between the Center for Global Health Science & Security and the University of Edinburgh Global Health Governance Programme – seeks to answer this question by investigating and answering questions surrounding (i) the current scientific evidence, (ii) the funding patterns of major global health partnerships, and (iii) the public sector's focus of development assistance for health.

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