Lessons for the Universalization of Health Care in Emerging Economies

Organization(s): UNRISD
Country: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Venezuela
Year: 2017

This webinar explores the opportunities and challenges facing developing countries as they seek to expand and universalize their health care systems.

Universal health care was once a central pillar of the welfare state, but the rise of neoliberalism in international policy discourse and practice eroded the support for universal social provision. As a result, many countries shifted health care from public to private management and provision in a wave of pro-market reforms. Yet, not all countries followed this path, and the examples of those that went against the tide and promoted universalization of health care provide valuable insights for policy makers seeking to create more inclusive systems, in line with the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This webinar, drawing on the recently published UNRISD volume Towards Universal Health Care in Emerging Economies: Opportunities and Challenges, focused on the diverse outcomes seen in selected emerging economies that have pursued universal health care in recent years. It provided an overview of these experiences and a framework for understanding why outcomes differed across countries, taking political, economic and institutional factors into account. The webinar looked closely at the cases of Brazil and China, and discussed the experiences of Thailand, Russia, South Africa, India, Indonesia and Venezuela.

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