Recent years have demonstrated the resurgence of a global commitment toward universal health coverage (UHC). The first step toward developing a sustainable primary health care (PHC)-oriented UHC program is the creation and service delivery of an explicit essential health care benefit package (EHCP). This paper aims to describe the development, features, and progress of the EHCP in Lebanon, in addition to outlining barriers, facilitators, and next steps. Building on the investments made in the PHC network, the ministry of public health in Lebanon piloted an essential PHC package program in 2016 targeting vulnerable Lebanese and was able to enroll over 87% of targeted population to date. In order to scale up the EHCP to the national level and achieve UHC, modifications need to be made to the package entitlements, provider payment mechanisms, and implementation arrangements. The paper also notes that further advocacy and lobbying are needed in order to place UHC and the EHCP on the national agenda and stimulate public demand.
Keywords: health benefits package; health systems; primary health care; provider payment mechanisms; universal health coverage.
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.