Sometimes the people who know best are, well, the people, say MSH President & CEO Dr. Jonathan D. Quick and colleagues in the second issue of The Strengthening Health Systems Journal.
Achieving the fundamental objectives of universal health coverage (UHC) and meeting the challenges of governing complex health systems requires people-centered schemes that include formal mechanisms to bring civil society and communities into the design and implementation of UHC programmes.
Dr. Quick, Research & Communications Specialist Chelsey Canavan, and Senior Writer Jonathan Jay highlight three areas where civil society and communities play vital roles in people-centered health systems: 1) ensuring the right services are provided under an essential package of health services; 2) removing barriers to care such as user fees; and 3) ensuring equitable access to health services.
In each of these areas and at every level of the health system, "citizen representation is essential", Quick and colleagues say. Bringing communities into the process at every step in the design and implementation of UHC will help "ensure meaningful increases in equity and improvements in health outcomes for the people the health system is meant to serve".