December 12th

International Universal Health Coverage Day -

Updated on by

Each year on December 12th, the global community comes together to observe International Universal Health Coverage Day. This day, supported by the United Nations, serves as a platform to advocate for equal access to health services for every individual, regardless of their location. The objective of this day is to promote awareness of how health security impacts individuals and societies, and to emphasize the necessity for affordable, quality health services.

This day serves as a call to action, inviting health workers, lawmakers, and individuals from all corners of the world to work towards making health equity a reality and recognize healthcare as a basic human right.

History of International Universal Health Coverage Day

International Universal Health Coverage Day has been celebrated annually on December 12th, officially recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in 2017. The day was initially honored unofficially and traces its roots back to when the concept of universal health coverage was first presented globally.

The initial Global Health Coverage Day took place on December 12, 2012, marking a significant United Nations resolution. This resolution recommended member countries to oversee that their citizens could access high-quality health services without incurring financial hardships. This date was chosen to remember this resolution.

The creation of this day came in response to recognizing that millions across the globe either had inadequate access to necessary health services or were being pushed into financial distress due to healthcare costs. Over 700 organizations from 116 countries collaborated to push for universal health coverage. This marked the inception of the first-ever Global Health Coverage Day.

This day not only worked towards increasing awareness about robust, fair health systems but also served as an international advocacy event. It pressed the cause of universal health coverage among international entities, national leaders, healthcare professionals, and civil society groups.

As time passed, Global Health Coverage Day evolved into International Universal Health Coverage Day and won global acknowledgment. A wide array of activities and events that underline the right to health and the need to widen the reach of health and associated services are organized worldwide, mainly focusing on the most vulnerable and marginalized groups.

International Universal Health Coverage Day Timeline

World Health Organization (WHO) Formation

The World Health Organization was formed, asserting that access to the highest standard of health is a human right.

Alma-Ata Declaration

The Alma-Ata Declaration marked a major shift in healthcare, recognizing Primary Healthcare as the key to achieving Health for all.

Creation of Global Fund

The Global Fund was created to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. This marked a major multinational commitment to health as a human right.

WHO’s Resolution on Sustainable Health Financing

The World Health Assembly resolution on sustainable health financing, universal coverage, and social health insurance was passed.

United Nations Resolution on Global Health and Foreign Policy

The UN General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution encouraging governments to accelerate progress toward universal health coverage.

Inclusion in Sustainable Development Goals

Universal Health Coverage was included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

First Universal Health Coverage Day

The first-ever International Universal Health Coverage Day was observed.

First UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage

The first-ever UN high-level meeting on universal health coverage took place, culminating in a political declaration on UHC.

Ideas to Celebrate International Universal Health Coverage Day

1 faq icon

Organizing Health Awareness Seminars

Host informational seminars about the importance of universal health coverage. Invite healthcare professionals to speak about different health aspects. Include discussions about healthcare policies and the need for everyone to have fair access to health services, regardless of their socio-economic status.

2 faq icon

Appreciating Healthworkers

Conduct appreciation events to thank healthcare workers for their relentless service. Their roles are crucial in providing universal health coverage and these events serve to acknowledge their contributions.

3 faq icon

Healthcare Policy Petitions

Initiate petitions requiring governments to push for healthcare policies that promote universal health coverage. This can bring public awareness to the importance of fair access to healthcare services.

4 faq icon

Charity Runs for Health Coverage

Organize charity runs to raise funds for disadvantaged communities and individuals who lack appropriate health coverage. This event engages the community and helps them understand the importance of equal access to health services.

5 faq icon

Health Insurance Counseling

Offer free health insurance counseling to inform people about the different insurance plans and policies available. This can help individuals to secure appropriate health coverage.

7 Interesting Facts About Universal Health Coverage


Universal Health Coverage Origins

The concept of Universal Health Coverage was introduced as a response to the World Health Organization's Constitution’s proclamation in 1948 that health is a fundamental human right.


First Country to Implement UHC

Germany was the first country to adopt the system of Universal Health Coverage in the late 19th century under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck during the social health insurance movement.


UHC and Sustainable Development Goals

Universal Health Coverage is a significant part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015. It is a specific target under SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being.


The UHC Symbol

The symbol for Universal Health Coverage is a human heart-shaped hand with a medic sign. This signifies the right to health that each individual deserves.


UHC Does Not Equal Free Healthcare

Universal Health Coverage doesn't necessarily mean healthcare is free for everyone. It means everyone has access to quality health services without suffering financial hardship.


Japan’s UHC Success

Japan implemented Universal Health Coverage in 1961, leading to one of the highest life expectancies in the world. Within a decade, their life expectancy shot up by over 8 years.


UHC Progress Tracker

The World Health Organization and the World Bank have jointly created a Universal Health Coverage monitoring framework that helps measure progress towards UHC globally.

International Universal Health Coverage Day FAQs

Next International Universal Health Coverage Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 December 12th Tuesday
2024 December 12th Thursday
2025 December 12th Friday
2026 December 12th Saturday
2027 December 12th Sunday
What is the pattern? Every December 12th

International Universal Health Coverage Day Word Search

  • Universal
  • Health
  • Coverage
  • Access
  • Insurance
  • Prevention