Document Type : Commentary
International Health Policy Program, Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi, Thailand
Progressive realization of universal health coverage (UHC) requires health systems capacity to provide quality service and financial risk protection which supports access to services without financial hardship. Government health spending in low-income countries (LICs) has been low and heavily relied on external donor resources and out-ofpocket payment. This has resulted in high prevalence of catastrophic health spending or foregone care by those who cannot afford. Under fiscal constraints posed by pandemic, reforms in LICs should focus on efficiency through health resource waste reduction. Targeting the poor even with low level of health spending can make a significant health gain. Investment in primary healthcare and health workforce is the foundation for realizing UHC which cannot be postponed. Innovative tax on health hazardous products, conditional debt relief can increase fiscal space for health; while international collaboration to accelerate coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine coverage can bring LICs out of acute phase of pandemic.