Girl visiting pediatrician
Girl visiting pediatrician.

Leave No One’s Health Behind: Invest in Health Systems for All

On 12 December 2012, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed a resolution urging countries to accelerate progress toward universal health coverage (UHC) – the idea that everyone, everywhere should have access to quality, affordable health care - as an essential priority for international development. On 12 December 2017, the United Nations proclaimed 12 December as International Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day) by resolution 72/138.

International Universal Health Coverage Day aims to raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems and universal health coverage with multi-stakeholder partners. Each year on 12 December, UHC advocates raise their voices to share the stories of the millions of people still waiting for health, champion what we have achieved so far, call on leaders to make bigger and smarter investments in health, and encourage diverse groups to make commitments to help move the world closer to UHC by 2030.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an ongoing moment of reckoning for health systems around the world. While the harsh lessons of our global situation are far from new—and while fears and injustices now making headlines reflect the daily reality of millions before the pandemic—the sheer scale of this crisis has sparked new urgency around health systems and universal health coverage. More leaders than ever are paying attention, and more people than ever are rising to demand change.

On 12 December, join us to demand action on universal health coverage and call on leaders to invest in health systems for all that leave no one behind.Our lives, livelihoods and futures depend on it.

UHC Day poster 2021

In 2019, world leaders endorsed the most ambitious and comprehensive political declaration on health in history at the UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage. In the midst of a global pandemic, we unite to call on leaders to protect everyone with this year’s theme:

“Leave No One’s Health Behind: Invest in health systems for all.” 

To build a safer and healthier future for all, we must strengthen our health systems to ensure they are equitable, resilient, and capable of meeting everyone’s needs.

Governments, international organisations, civil society organisations, the private sector, academia, and media are encouraged to use this year’s theme to keep holding leaders, our health systems and ourselves accountable to the promise of health for all. Everyone, everywhere deserves access to quality health services, in times of crisis and calm.

More information can be found on the official campaign microsite:


Universal Health Coverage - What does it mean?

A nurse holds a newborn child at Cama Hospital, a major hospital for women and children in Mumbai, India.

The goal of universal health coverage (UHC) has become more attainable as the world has become richer, leading to greater access to health services and technologies, such as vaccines and antibiotics, and to the most dramatic decline in poverty ever achieved. To ensure that every person benefits from the human right to health, political leaders have to make the right choices, the rational economic, financial and social choice of universal health coverage.


Serbian peacekeepers serving with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) provide medical care at the MINUSCA hospital in Bangui

The World Health Organization (WHO) is one of the many members of the UN family engaged in health-related matters, which includes, among others, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in support of reproductive, adolescent and maternal health; and the health-related activities of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).


illustration of people with clock, calendar, to-do list and decorations

International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.