The primary aim of any health system must be to improve people’s health. Universal access to healthcare is recognised globally as a public good. It embodies universal social values such as solidarity, fairness, social justice, and shared responsibility. It is entrenched as a fundamental human right in the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Furthermore, Section 27 in our Bill of Rights guarantees access to healthcare as a human right.

There has recently been a subtle and little-noticed shift in the discourse around universal health care towards framing it as Universal Health Coverage, including in the language of documents from the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO)…..more