Report on universal health coverage and human rights

15 May 2019
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
To the Economic and Social Council at its 2019 session
Link to report:


In the present report, submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 48/141, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights examines how the human rights framework, particularly the rights to health and to social security, can contribute to the conceptualization of universal health coverage and to its implementation.

The report outlines some of the key human rights challenges of extending universal health coverage, such as:

  • access to medicines,
  • deficits in the health work force,
  • the impact of corruption, and
  • the very sizeable populations and groups who have been excluded from health coverage.

The High Commissioner concludes that, in keeping with the character of the right to health as an inclusive right, universal health coverage must be understood to incorporate effective access and formal coverage. The report includes a number of recommendations to States, such as that they should adopt national plans and strategies to mainstream universal health coverage for all.