Call for Papers: Universal Health Coverage and Human Rights

For those working on health legal empowerment programs, the Health and Human Rights Journal are calling for new papers on Universal Health Coverage and Human rights - deadline Feb 28th 2016. They are also interested in submissions on citizenship and universal health care. See details below and on their website here. @elliefeinglass @lauragoodwin @michaelotto @terralawsonremer @vivekmaru

One of the most significant global health policy developments in recent years is the growing interest in universal health coverage (UHC). The World Health Assembly defined universal health coverage “as access to key promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative health interventions for all at an affordable cost, thereby achieving equity in access.” In 2011, the World Health Assembly urged member states “to aim for affordable universal coverage and access for all citizens on the basis of equity and solidarity.” In 2010, the World Health Organization’s annual report was devoted to health system financing to enable countries to advance toward universal health coverage. Since 2010, more than 70 countries have requested advice and support from the World Health Organization regarding reforms required to progress towards UHC.

While the growing support for UHC is a welcome development, it does not necessarily mean there will be meaningful progress toward this goal in any specific country even when there are policy commitments to do so. Moving toward UHC entails a long-term process of progressive realization that requires advancing on several fronts for all people: increasing the proportion of the population that enjoys health protection, particularly the population groups that hitherto have lacked access to services; improving the available range of services provided to address people’s health needs effectively, taking into account demand and expectations; and increasing the proportion of the costs covered through government funding, pooling, and pre-payment mechanisms. All of these components involve complex challenges.

Importantly, not all potential paths to a universal health system are consistent with human rights requirements, even ones that result in significant health expansion. For example, some countries have prioritized expansion of a broad package of health services to workers in the formal sector and their families leaving coverage for those in the informal sector and the unemployed to a later stage of health expansion. This later stage may be deferred indefinitely, and give rise to increases inequity until and if it is addressed. This approach violates the human rights standard of giving priority to the worst off.

This is a call for articles to be published in a special section of the Health and Human Rights Journal in December 2016 that examines universal health coverage from a human rights perspective. The special section will be guest edited by Audrey Chapman, Healey Professor of Medical Ethics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

Topics could include:

  • A theoretical analysis of the requirements for UHC health systems and policies to be consistent with human rights requirements, particularly any of the following: (1) whether legal and undocumented immigrants and other noncitizens resident in a country would have to be included as beneficiaries; (2) what meaningful access to health services entails; (3) which types of health services would need to be provided in a minimum basket of benefits; (4) what affordability entails and (5) which types of health financing and health delivery mechanisms are most consistent with human rights principles.
  • In a situation of limited resources, (1) how to move equitably to UHC, (2) what are the obligations of donors and international partners and (3) can practical trade offs be negotiated while respecting human rights?
  • A critical examination of the experience and policies of particular countries as they have attempted to expand coverage of health services.
  • An assessment of the prerequisites, especially within health systems, for UHC to be a meaningful option for lower- and middle-income countries;

Publication Details Health and Human Rights Journal is a peer-reviewed open access journal under the editorship of Partners in Health co-founder Paul Farmer. It is published twice yearly by Harvard University Press, with new issues released in June and December. There are no publication fees unless authors can use open access publication grants.

Submission Details

Papers must be submitted by February 28, 2016. Papers must have a maximum word length of 7,000 words, including references. Please refer to author guidelines in preparing your submission. For answers to questions, please contact Audrey Chapman or Carmel Williams, Executive Editor, Health and Human Rights Journal.

1 Like