Research Topic

Reimagining Universal Health Coverage and Other Global Health Targets in the Post COVID-19 Era

About this Research Topic

United Nations Member States have agreed to aim to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).The political declaration that was unanimously endorsed by all countries at the UN High-Level Meeting on UHC included a promise to allocate resources to achieve “financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all”. The current COVID-19 pandemic threatens progress made towards UHC. During the pandemic, public revenues have decreased due to declining economy activity, and countries have ramped up deficit financing, increasing pressures for debt servicing in coming years. If current trends continue, individual out-of-pocket spending will also likely decline as people may forego necessary health care.

The impact of the pandemic on children’s health and well-being is devastating. Global progress on improving child survival is at risk. At least half of the world’s population already lack access to basic health services and up to 100 million could be pushed into extreme poverty because they have to pay for basic health care. Countries with lower levels of public investment in health have faced bigger disruptions to essential services. Countries must learn from the current and past pandemics, including Ebola, and prioritize investment in public health systems that can prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility and weaknesses of the health systems and brought attention to certain critical dimensions such as spending priorities; issues of equity; addressing the left-behind groups (vulnerable); and critical links between health and other sectors. There are increased reports of gender-based violence during the lockdowns and the pandemic could seriously impair or reverse progress towards the SDGs. Each health-related SDG target is expected to regress. Most countries have been experiencing the double burden because of Covid-19 pandemic along the existing burden of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs). While the pandemic creates inevitable setbacks, political and public support for health systems around the world has never been higher. The global community must seize this moment to reinvigorate momentum towards achieving UHC. The COVID-19 pandemic creates an urgency to turn rhetoric into action, and an opportunity to deliver health for all. In this context, there is a greater need for fostering global solidarity and multilateralism and support poorer countries through aid and debt relief, emphasize the importance of health systems for global security and ensure a strong political leadership through G20, G7 and other regional groups.

This Research Topic aims to address the core challenges of UHC in the post-pandemic era and welcomes contributions of original research, methodological and operations research studies, reviews as well as perspective/opinion papers. Priority will be given to disease specific health-economic evaluations (e.g TB, other infectious diseases and NCDs), health policy analysis, relevant to financing mechanisms, health expenditures, healthcare costs and cost-containment strategies will be considered as well. We welcome high quality submissions from academia, industry, think-tanks, regulatory authorities and professional associations.


Keywords: universal health coverage, uhc, sdg, UN sustainable development goals, covid-19


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

United Nations Member States have agreed to aim to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).The political declaration that was unanimously endorsed by all countries at the UN High-Level Meeting on UHC included a promise to allocate resources to achieve “financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all”. The current COVID-19 pandemic threatens progress made towards UHC. During the pandemic, public revenues have decreased due to declining economy activity, and countries have ramped up deficit financing, increasing pressures for debt servicing in coming years. If current trends continue, individual out-of-pocket spending will also likely decline as people may forego necessary health care.

The impact of the pandemic on children’s health and well-being is devastating. Global progress on improving child survival is at risk. At least half of the world’s population already lack access to basic health services and up to 100 million could be pushed into extreme poverty because they have to pay for basic health care. Countries with lower levels of public investment in health have faced bigger disruptions to essential services. Countries must learn from the current and past pandemics, including Ebola, and prioritize investment in public health systems that can prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility and weaknesses of the health systems and brought attention to certain critical dimensions such as spending priorities; issues of equity; addressing the left-behind groups (vulnerable); and critical links between health and other sectors. There are increased reports of gender-based violence during the lockdowns and the pandemic could seriously impair or reverse progress towards the SDGs. Each health-related SDG target is expected to regress. Most countries have been experiencing the double burden because of Covid-19 pandemic along the existing burden of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs). While the pandemic creates inevitable setbacks, political and public support for health systems around the world has never been higher. The global community must seize this moment to reinvigorate momentum towards achieving UHC. The COVID-19 pandemic creates an urgency to turn rhetoric into action, and an opportunity to deliver health for all. In this context, there is a greater need for fostering global solidarity and multilateralism and support poorer countries through aid and debt relief, emphasize the importance of health systems for global security and ensure a strong political leadership through G20, G7 and other regional groups.

This Research Topic aims to address the core challenges of UHC in the post-pandemic era and welcomes contributions of original research, methodological and operations research studies, reviews as well as perspective/opinion papers. Priority will be given to disease specific health-economic evaluations (e.g TB, other infectious diseases and NCDs), health policy analysis, relevant to financing mechanisms, health expenditures, healthcare costs and cost-containment strategies will be considered as well. We welcome high quality submissions from academia, industry, think-tanks, regulatory authorities and professional associations.


Keywords: universal health coverage, uhc, sdg, UN sustainable development goals, covid-19


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

03 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

03 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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