The World Health Report 2013

Research for Universal Health Coverage

November 2013
More details
  • Publisher
    World Health Organization
  • Published
    5th November 2013
  • ISBN 9789241564595
  • Language English
  • Pages 162 pp.
  • Size 8.25" x 11.75"
  • Images Color Photos

Everyone should have access to the health services they need without being forced into poverty when paying for them. This report argues that universal health coverage—with full access to high-quality services for prevention, treatment and financial risk protection—cannot be achieved without the evidence provided by scientific research. It maintains that all nations should be producers of research as well as consumers. The process of discovery should take place not only in academic centers but also in public health programs where people seek health care and use the services provided. Investigations ranging from clinical trials to health policy studies can help chart the course to improved health outcomes and reduced poverty, but research needs national and international backing to succeed.

The 2013 report calls for:

* Increased international and national investment and support in research aimed specifically at improving coverage of health services within and between countries.

* Closer collaboration between researchers and policymakers, i.e. research needs to be taken outside the academic institutions and into public health programs that are close to the supply of and demand for health services.

* Countries to build research capacity by developing a local workforce of well-trained, motivated researchers.

* Every country to have comprehensive codes of good research practice in place.

* Global and national research networks to coordinate research efforts by fostering collaboration and information exchange.

Message from the Director-General
Executive summary

1. The role of research for universal health coverage

Developing the concept of universal health coverage
Investigating financial risk protection
Investigating the coverage of health services
Equity and universal health coverage
Coverage of health services: quality as well as quantity
Conclusions: research needed for universal health coverage

2. The growth of research for universal health coverage
Creativity everywhere
Research ascending
Growing unevenly
The value of health research
Conclusions: building on the foundations

3. How research contributes to universal health coverage
Case-study 1: Insecticide-treated mosquito nets to reduce childhood mortality
Case-study 2: Antiretroviral therapy to prevent sexual transmission of HIV
Case-study 3: Zinc supplements to reduce pneumonia and diarrhoea in young children
Case-study 4: Telemedicine to improve the quality of paediatric care
Case-study 5: New diagnostics for tuberculosis
Case-study 6: The “polypill” to reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease
Case-study 7: Combination treatment with sodium stibogluconate (SSG) and paromomycin compared to SSG monotherapy for visceral leishmaniasis
Case-study 8: Task shifting in the scale-up of interventions to improve child survival
Case-study 9: Improving access to emergency obstetric care
Case-study 10: Conditional cash transfers to improve the use of health services and health outcomes
Case-study 11: Insurance in the provision of accessible and affordable health services
Case-study 12: Affordable health care in ageing populations
Conclusions: general lessons drawn from specific examples

4. Building research systems for universal health coverage
Setting research priorities
Strengthening research capacity
A framework for strengthening capacity
Creating and retaining a skilled research workforce
Ensuring transparency and accountability in research funding
Building research institutions and networks
Defining and implementing norms and standards
Ethics and ethical review
Reporting and sharing research data, tools and materials
Registering clinical trials
Using evidence to develop policy, practice and products
Translating evidence into policy and practice
Monitoring and coordinating research, nationally and internationally
Financing research for universal health coverage
National and international governance of health research
Conclusions: building effective research systems

5. Action on research for universal health coverage
Research – essential for universal coverage and a source of inspiration for public health
Defining and measuring progress towards universal health coverage
The path to universal health coverage, and the path to better health
Research for universal health coverage in every country
Supporting the people who do research
Translating research evidence into health policy and practice
Supporting research for universal health coverage, nationally
and internationally
WHO’s role in research for universal health coverage


World Health Organization

World Health Organization is a Specialized Agency of the United Nations, charged to act as the world's directing and coordinating authority on questions of human health. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries, and monitoring and assessing health trends.