course ID: 1.2

Health Financing Policies, Health System Performance and Obstacles to Universal Coverage


The course provides students with an overview of the patterns and key issues of health systems financing policies, with an emphasis on critical assessment of current and future policy options and issues. The course analyses methods and tools to assess health financing policies and it reviews effective policy instruments to improve health system performance through better health financing policy. It is structured around the following topics:

  • Objectives of health financing system;
  • Raising revenues – thinking outside the box;
  • Pooling revenues – insurance, taxes and the costs of fragmentation;
  • Purchasing – getting more health for the money including questions of benefits packages;
  • Health system development that complements health financing reforms;
  • Coordinating reform – aligning policy instruments with policy objectives.

The course offers examples and practical experiences from low, middle, and high income countries. The key principles and  challenges of attaining and maintaining universal coverage, as well as the tools analysed, are relevant to low, middle and high income countries


At the end of the course participants will be:

  • Familiar with the key issues in health systems financing for ensuring access to needed services with financial risk protection;
  • Able to assess alternative methods of: raising revenue to funding health services; pooling funds to spread financial risks and reduce financial barriers to access; and purchasing or providing services efficiently and effectively;
  • Able to appreciate the challenges of health systems and financing policies that can benefit the poor;
  • Able to identify some of the other types of health system strategies that are needed to support changes in health financing policies;
  • Able to adopt a systematic approach to assess and design health financing policies


No specific prerequisite. The course will mostly benefit policy-makers and practitioners at all levels of seniority in the health sector, managers of service-provider organizations and individuals involved in health system reforms. It will benefit also individuals interested in how health systems can address existing inequalities in access to health services, in how the global health community can support national health systems to develop and implement financing policies.

Fabrizio Tediosi


PD Group Leader, Health Systems and Policy, Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute

David B. Evans


External Collaborator, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute; Consultant Lead Economist (Health Financing), World Bank

Gabriela Flores


Technical officer, Health Financing, Department of Health Systems Governance and Financing, World Health Organization