A response to the United Nations (UN) Secretary General António Guterres’ October 2020 policy brief, “COVID-19 and Universal Health Coverage,” in which he urged all countries to speed up and scale up investment in universal health coverage and in stronger health systems, starting immediately.”

Universal healthcare is a pertinent issue for Jamaica and many other developing countries. In fact, all United Nations Member States, Jamaica included, have agreed to try to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. Universal health coverage means that all people have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship. Given that universal coverage is a central plank of the Sustainable Development Goals, this is obviously an important objective. Despite this, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that at least half of the world’s people do not have access to the health services that they need. Jamaica has made steps towards realising the goals of universal health coverage and recognises universal healthcare’s significance, particularly in relation to ensuring that all Jamaicans have access to quality healthcare, and since mid-2016, has taken concrete steps towards realising that goal. In its October policy brief, the UN secretary general emphasised three aims of universal health coverage: equity in access, sufficient quality, and no undue financial risk.