Girl visiting pediatrician
Girl visiting pediatrician. Photo: WHO

Universal health coverage is integral to delivering the Sustainable Development Goals, our blueprint of a better future for people and planet. On this International Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to health for all as an investment in humanity, wellbeing and prosperity for everyone.

Secretary-General António Guterres

International Universal Health Coverage Day 2019: Keep the promise

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.


Following the UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage on 23 September 2019 — where world leaders endorsed the most ambitious and comprehensive political declaration on health in history – the theme for the UHC Day 2019 campaign is: "Keep the promise.”

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.

More information can be found on the official campaign microsite:


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).


Geometric illustration with the Secretariat building at UNHQ, New York.

International days 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.