The New Global Health Agenda: Universal Health Coverage


(COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS)   The field of global health is witnessing a shift in focus from disease-driven initiatives to projects aimed at increasing the sustainability and strengthening of health systems. A crucial component to this is universal health coverage (UHC), which seeks to address financing schemes for health, separate from efforts to provide both adequate numbers of health workers and structures for health-care delivery. UHC may be provided by government or through a combination of private insurance schemes, public-sector planning, and employer-based programs. Countries across the world, from China and India to Rwanda and Mexico, are beginning to implement different universal health coverage schemes, marking a rise in interest and political will for universal health coverage. In The New Global Health Agenda: Universal Health Coverage, authors Oren Ahoobim, Daniel Altman, Laurie Garrett, Vicky Hausman, and Yanzhong Huang discuss this rise in support for universal health coverage and the financial benefits that may be reaped by implementing such schemes, and provide examples of models used to date by countries in establishing universal health coverage.

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Oren Ahoobim is a project manager at Dalberg Global Development Advisors, where he works with foundations, corporations, and multilateral institutions to develop effective solutions to address global challenges related to health, energy, and the environment. He has taught at Stanford University and New York University’s Stern School of Business, and he holds BA, MA, and PhD degrees in economics from Stanford University.

Daniel Altman is director of thought leadership at Dalberg Global Development Advisors and an adjunct associate professor of economics at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Prior to these appointments, he was an economics columnist for the Economist and the New York Times and an economic adviser in the British government. He first studied universal health coverage at the National Bureau of Economic Research in 1994, during the health-care debate in the United States. He is the author of four books on economics and economic policy, and he holds AB (magna cum laude), AM, and PhD degrees in economics from Harvard University.

Laurie Garrett is senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Garrett is the only writer ever to have been awarded all three of the Big “Ps” of journalism: the Peabody, the Polk, and the Pulitzer. Garrett is also the best-selling author of The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance and Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health. Her most recent book is I Heard the Sirens Scream: How Americans Responded to the 9/11 and Anthrax Attacks. During her time as senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, Garrett has written several reports and articles in addition to I Heard the Sirens Scream, including HIV and National Security: Where are the Links? (Council on Foreign Relations Press, 2005); “The Next Pandemic?” (Foreign Affairs, July/August 2005); “The Lessons of HIV/AIDS” (Foreign Affairs, July/August 2005); “The Challenge of Global Health” (Foreign Affairs, January/February 2007); The Future of Foreign Assistance Amid Global Economic and Financial Crisis (Council on Foreign Relations Press, 2009); and “Castrocare in Crisis” (Foreign Affairs, July/August 2010). Garrett is a member of the National Association of Science Writers and served as the organization’s president during the mid-1990s. She currently serves on the advisory board for the Noguchi Prize, François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights, Global Health Frontline News Project, and the Health Worker Global Policy Advisory Group, and is a principal member of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN). Garrett also chairs the Scientific Advisory Panel to the UNAIDS High Level Commission on HIV Prevention. She is an expert on global health with a particular focus on newly emerging and reemerging diseases, bioterrorism, and public health and its effects on foreign policy and national security.

Vicky Hausman is a partner at Dalberg Global Development Advisors and leads the firm’s global health practice. She has worked on strategy development, execution, and evaluation with clients including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, United Nations Foundation, GAVI Alliance, Open Society Foundation, World Bank, GBCHealth, Initiative for Global Development, and Fortune 500 companies. Before joining Dalberg, she was a project leader at the Boston Consulting Group, where she led strategic and operational projects for private and public clients. She holds an AB from Harvard University and an MA from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and she serves on the board of the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF).

Yanzhong Huang is senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he directs the Emerging Powers in Global Health Governance and Universal Health Coverage Roundtable series. He is also an associate professor and director for global health studies at the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University, where he developed the first academic concentration among U.S. professional schools of international affairs that explicitly addresses the security and foreign policy aspects of health issues. In addition, he is the founding editor of Global Health GovernanceThe Scholarly Journal for the New Health Security Paradigm. Huang has written extensively on global health governance, health diplomacy, health security, and public health in China and East Asia. His articles have appeared in Survival,Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, and Biosecurity and Bioterrorism. His forthcoming book,Governing Health in Contemporary China, looks at the health system transition in contemporary China, including health-care reform, government ability to address disease outbreaks, and food and drug safety. He is a research associate of the National Asia Research Program, an associate fellow at the Asia Society, and a visiting professor at Nanjing Medical University. Most recently, he was listed by Inside Jersey magazine as one of New Jersey’s “20 exceptional intellects who are changing the world.” He has taught at Barnard College and Columbia University. He was a visiting senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore and a visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC. He received his PhD in political science from the University of Chicago.


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