Universal health coverage

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) ensures all people, everywhere, can access quality health services with financial protection and are not pushed into poverty by healthcare costs.

UHC must include Persons Living with a Rare Disease (PLWRD) and seek to strengthen health systems to address the specific challenges associated with rarity.

All UN Member States have agreed to work to achieve Universal Health Coverage by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In 2019, countries adopted the UN Political Declaration on UHC. Thanks to advocacy from the rare disease community, the Declaration includes rare diseases and commits all governments to strengthen efforts to address rare diseases in their plans to achieve UHC.

WHO’s top priority is to support countries on the path towards universal health coverage. This includes access to diagnosis and treatment for people who suffer from rare diseases.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Rare Disease Day Statement, February 2018.

The UN Resolution on Persons Living with a Rare Disease and their Families, signed by consensus by all UN Member States, calls on countries to strengthen health systems to provide universal access to a wide range of healthcare services without financial hardship.

Moreover, the World Health Organization’s 13th General Programme of Work 2019-2023 (GPW13) includes strengthening health systems by fostering collaboration, aggregating expertise, and delivering a patient-centred approach to multidisciplinary care as concrete steps toward UHC.


RDI is a member of the Civil Society Engagement Mechanism of UHC2030, founded by the World Bank and the World Health Organisation to advance equitable UHC policies and action.

We also offer tools and resources to enable our members and the public to advocate for national and international UHC policies that address rare diseases.

Key Resources