Universal Health Coverage

Project description

Project or programme title: Universal Health Coverage (UHC)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Global
Lead executing agency: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Overall term: 2017 to 2020

Studierende in der Bibliothek, Äthiopien. © GIZ / Heather Oh


At least half of the world’s population still has no access to basic health services. Around 800 million people have to spend more than ten per cent of their income on health care, while nearly 100 million people impoverish due to illness. In many places, preventive measures such as vaccinations or health education are not financed and offered on a sufficient scale. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa from 2013 to 2016 demonstrated that many health systems are unable to respond appropriately to acute and future health challenges, for example as a result of climate change, natural disasters or infectious disease outbreaks. In many countries, the public health system suffers from insufficient financing and is fragmented as a result of parallel structures.


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development highlights Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as a guiding strategy for health measures. Increasing measures are being initiated to structure and advance the implementation of UHC. In this context, the UHC sector project aims to ensure that BMZ and German development cooperation play a decisive role in shaping and promoting the implementation of UHC.



The main focus of the project is on providing supraregional technical and political advice on UHC to its main commissioning party, the BMZ, and on positioning BMZ and German development cooperation in international networks. It is BMZ’s central project for the supraregional implementation of the health strategy and supports the German Government in further developing its strategies and concepts regarding global health and strengthening health systems.

This supraregional advisory approach is supported by the secondment of employees to international organisations (the European Commission and the World Bank), and by targeted advice and activities at country levels. The latter is primarily implemented using two instruments, namely the German Epidemic Preparedness Team and active membership in the Providing for Health network (P4H).

By providing technical advisory services, the programme supports the P4H network and the coordination office located at the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank, both at global level and at country level. The project has assigned staff members as advisors (focal points) to a total of five partner countries, where they advise the government and partners on coordinating the UHC partner contributions, on national health financing processes and on the UHC agenda. Through the Leadership for UHC (L4UHC) programme, skills are being developed internationally in the partner countries covering various topics, with the aim of advancing the national UHC agenda and finding joint solutions for obstacles to achieving an impact. One important P4H cooperation partner and co-funder of the project is the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The German Epidemic Preparedness Team is a joint collaboration of GIZ with the Robert Koch Institute and the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, which responds to outbreaks of disease that have the potential to become an epidemic in partner countries and provides support in measures to detect, respond to and contain them at an early stage.

Moreover, the project is the WHO’s official collaboration centre for Health Systems Strengthening and Health Financing for UHC. The project supports the WHO here in three priority areas: strategic procurement of health services, quality assurance and health information systems. GIZ receives a subsidy from the German Federal Ministry of Health for the purpose of implementing these measures.



Additional information