How do we open the door to universal healthcare?

Written by Leris D'Costa, Emily Smith and Joel Decena on Saturday 7th April 2018

At least half of the world’s people are currently unable to obtain essential health services1. In light of World Health day, Leris D'Costa, Emily Smith and Joel Decena from OPEN Health Dubai share their thoughts on the essentials to achieving Universal Healthcare (UHC).

Progressively increase mandatory prepayment

Increasing prepayment ensures sufficient pooled resources essential to subsidise the cost of services for poor populations.2

Break the link between entitlement and contribution

Explore and place more reliance on revenue sourced primarily from indirect taxes such as value added taxes, to ensure those in need get coverage.2

Enable redistribution of resources

Building risk pools that cover people of different economic and health statuses enables distribution of prepaid funds for health in accordance with need.2

Increase public financing to enable healthcare subsidies to the poor and sick

Prioritise health financing in national budget allocations, and/or expand public revenue and expenditures to enable increase in public spending on health.2

Improve efficiency and equity in healthcare investments

WHO estimates that about 20-40% of health expenditures are wasted in most countries, therefore, effective purchasing of health services can help increase coverage and quality of care.2

If you have any queries or would like to know more about the OPEN Health Dubai offering, please contact: Marcus Corander, Managing Director of OPEN Health Dubai on or +971 (0)4431 6553.


1.Tracking universal health coverage: 2017 global monitoring report. World Health Organization and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO
2.Universal health coverage: Lessons to guide country actions on health financing. Available at: (Accessed 07.03.2018)