Universal Health means that all people have access, without any kind of discrimination, to comprehensive quality services, wherever they need them, without facing financial difficulties. It requires the definition and implementation of policies and actions with a multisectoral approach to address the social determinants of health and promote the commitment of the whole society with health and well-being. Universal health is not just about ensuring everyone is covered, but that everyone has access to care when they need it, wherever they are.

This year, World Health Day (WHD) celebrated on April 7 every year, marks the end of the World Health Organization’s 70th anniversary celebrations. In the Region of the Americas, these celebrations have been framed around universal health, under the theme "Universal health: Everyone, Everywhere.”

Campaign News and Activities


Report of the High-level Commission

High Level Commission Report Cover

As an expression of Health for All in the 21st century, universal health requires the involvement of all sectors of society in order to combat poverty, social injustice, educational gaps, and poor living conditions, among other factors that influence people’s health.

WHD 2019 is celebrated after the "World Conference on Primary Health Care" of 2018 in Astana and before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), to be held in New York in September 2019. Both events are a great opportunity for PAHO/WHO to reiterate and reinforce our call for Universal Health and the role of the Primary Health Care (PHC) to achieve it.

In the Region of the Americas, this campaign is focused on equity and solidarity, addressing barriers to access to health and health services, with the goal of improving an understanding of universal health, and promoting actions that contribute to make it a reality.

#UniversalHealth   |   #Healthforall


Everyone has a part to play, sparking conversations and contributing to dialogue on policies that can help your country achieve and maintain universal health.

Decision-makers can:


Engage in structured conversations with various community stakeholders who are both affected by and essential to ensuring universal health.

Listen to the population’s demands, opinions, and expectations regarding universal health in order to improve policy responses. 

The population can be consulted through face-to-face dialogue, surveys, or a referendum, among other methods.

Collaborate with grassroots organizations and advocates for universal health to explore feasible solutions.

Health professionals can:


Discuss intersectoral policies to ensure the availability, accessibility, relevance, and competence of human resources for universal health.

Discuss the needs of qualified, motivated inter-professional teams, which are essential to serve the health needs of the people wherever they may live.

Raise their voices so that health workers can enjoy stable and decent employment, as this strengthens both the health system and the social and economic development of the country.

Create movements that foster high-level agreements between the educational and health sectors, in order to achieve quality standards in the training of health workers, based on specific community needs.

Advocate for the gender perspective to be incorporated into new organizational models and when hiring in the health services.

People and communities can:


Raise their voices in order to exercise their right to health and organize national movements toward universal health.

Communicate their needs, opinions, and expectations to local policy-maker, politicians, ministers, and other public representatives.

Make themselves heard through social media in order to ensure that community health needs—and other needs—are taken into account and prioritized at the local level.

Invite civil society organizations to help raise their community needs with policy-makers.

Share their stories, as affected communities and people, with the media.

Organize activities such as discussion forums, policy debates, concerts, marches, and interviews to provide people with an opportunity to interact with their representatives on the topic of universal health via the mass media and social media.

Advocate for governments to implement strategies to motivate health teams, using economic incentives, professional development, and quality of life measures to encourage them to stay in remote and neglected areas.

The media can:


Highlight initiatives and interventions that help improve access to quality services and financial protection for people and communities.

Show what happens when people cannot obtain the services they need.

Hold policy-makers and politicians accountable, e.g. through documentaries on the commitments they have made to universal health, focusing on strengths, weaknesses, and new challenges to be addressed (e.g. increase in noncommunicable diseases or population ageing).

Create platforms for dialogue between beneficiaries, communities, their political representatives, and policy-makers, e.g. through debates, interviews, and talk radio.