Globally, over three billion people – many of them in the poorest half of the world’s population – must pay out of pocket for health services. As a result of health care expenditures, many are forced to choose between paying catastrophic portions of their available income or going without needed services, perpetuating a vicious cycle of sickness and poverty. Numerous countries are experimenting with models for moving towards universal health coverage (UHC) to protect against financial risk, increase access to health services, and improve health outcomes. However, they must overcome a number of design and technical challenges to achieve UHC including large informal sector populations, complexity of health financing systems, limited available sources of revenue generation, and domestic political challenges that can make technically appropriate reforms difficult to implement.
As the global movement towards UHC has inspired more and more countries to make commitments to achieve UHC by implementing complex reforms, the need for more information on the practical ‘how to’s’ of health systems reforms to achieve UHC is increasing. Countries and the global community are interested in what works, what doesn’t work (and why), what is promising, what can be adapted, what is scalable, what is sustainable, and what new research can help inform decision making at the country-level.
The Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage (JLN) is an innovative platform that facilitates knowledge sharing and co-production of new knowledge among practitioners and policymakers from 22 Asian, African, Eastern European and Latin American countries to help them address their practical and immediate design and implementation-related challenges to accelerate country progress toward UHC and contribute new knowledge to the global community.
R4D currently serves as the JLN Network Coordinator and as technical facilitators of the Primary Health Care, Population Coverage, and Provider Payment Technical Initiatives. As the Network Coordinator, R4D assists the JLN Steering Group in developing and implementing a strategic plan, coordinating among the members, country core groups, and technical partners, supporting the network by managing membership, knowledge management, communications, and monitoring and evaluation.