In recent years, many countries have adopted universal health coverage (UHC) as a national aspiration. In response to increasing demand for a systematic assessment of global experiences with UHC, the Government of Japan and the World Bank collaborated on a 2-year multicountry research programme to analyse the processes of moving towards UHC. The programme included 11 countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Peru, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam), representing diverse geographical, economic, and historical contexts. The study identified common challenges and opportunities and useful insights for how to move towards UHC. The study showed that UHC is a complex process, fraught with challenges, many possible pathways, and various pitfalls--but is also feasible and achievable. Movement towards UHC is a long-term policy engagement that needs both technical knowledge and political know-how. Technical solutions need to be accompanied by pragmatic and innovative strategies that address the national political economy context.
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