According to a definition by the World Health Organization (WHO), the goal of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is to ensure that “all people obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them.” In line with this definition, the three dimensions of UHC are population coverage, package of services, and level of financial protection. One way to accelerate progress in achieving UHC is to design and implement an essential package of health services (EPHS).
To guide countries in the development and implementation of EPHS as part of their UHC reforms, a multi-year project was launched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation under the name Disease Control Priorities (DCP). DCP periodically publishes evidence packages under the same name used as starting point for country-specific analysis of priority UHC packages. DCP3, the third edition of these packages, proposes the essential UHC package (EUHC) which are 218 interventions designed for lower middle-income countries, and a subset of 108 interventions, called highest-priority package (HPP) proposed for low-income countries where the fiscal space is more constrained. A DCP3 Country Translation project has been established to support countries in using the DCP3 evidence and packages to guide the development of their own UHC packages.
To initiate discussions on Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) country experiences in using DCP3 packages in the development of the EPHS, EMPHNET, WHO-EMRO, and DCP3 co-hosted a high-level regional meeting in Amman on April 4 and 5, 2023 that brought together representatives of the countries that are already using the DCP3 and other countries with plans for a similar implementation. Country experiences and lessons learned were shared by representatives from Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. Discussions included progress made by countries from the region on UHC, challenges in the transition from package design to implementation and how technical assistance in these areas can be sustainably reinforced.