Multi-million rand project for universal health coverage

18 April 2011

The European Union has awarded UCT's Health Economics Unit a collaborative five-year, multi-million rand research project that will focus on monitoring and evaluating policy formulation and implementation processes aimed at achieving universal health coverage in South Africa and Tanzania.

This new project is called the Universal Coverage in Tanzania and South Africa (UNITAS). It will track policy formulation process to help policy-makers manage the compromises that must be reached to ensure adopted policies are acceptable to all.

UNITAS will monitor policy implementation at district level, and establish an 'early warning system' of difficulties.

Providing a baseline against which the impact of these financing reforms can be assessed are the findings from SHIELD: the Strategies for Health Insurance for Equity in Less Developed Countries research project. The project assessed who pays for, and who benefits from, health care in both countries.

"Our assessment of the policy context in South Africa and Tanzania from SHIELD shows that there is very strong government commitment to pursuing universal coverage," says UNITAS co-ordinator, Professor Di McIntyre. "Some interventions towards this goal will be implemented, even if in a somewhat different form to that currently envisaged."

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