Eye health and Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

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Eye health and Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

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According to the World Health Organization, Universal Health Coverage (UHC) means that:

“all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.”

UHC is not universal without affordable high quality eye care that is accessible to all. All countries can improve one or more of the access, quality, equity and financial protection of eye care services. To inform health services planning, we undertake UHC-aligned research at the global, regional, national, facility and community-level.

As part of the Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health we have drawn together information from multiple sources to outline how eye health can be delivered within UHC.


  • Yoshizaki, M., Ramke, J., Zhang, J. H., Aghaji, A., Furtado, J. M., Burn, H., Gichuhi, S., Dean, W. H., Congdon, N., Burton, M. J., & Buchan, J. (2021). How can we improve the quality of cataract services for all? A global scoping review. Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology49(7), 672–685. https://doi.org/10.1111/ceo.13976
  • McCormick, I., Mactaggart, I., Resnikoff, S., Muirhead, D., Murthy, G. V., Silva, J. C., Bastawrous, A., Stern, J., Blanchet, K., Wang, N., Yusufu, M., Cooper, A., Gichangi, M., Group, E. H. I. P. P., Burton, M. J., & Ramke, J. (2021). Eye health indicators for universal health coverage: Results of a global expert prioritisation process. British Journal of Ophthalmology. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjophthalmol-2020-318481
  • Aghaji, A., Burchett, H. E. D., Mathenge, W., Faal, H. B., Umeh, R., Ezepue, F., Isiyaku, S., Kyari, F., Wiafe, B., Foster, A., & Gilbert, C. E. (2021). Technical capacities needed to implement the WHO’s primary eye care package for Africa: Results of a Delphi process. BMJ Open11(3), e042979. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-042979
  • Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health: Vision beyond 2020 M.J.Burton, J.Ramke, A.P.Marques, et al. Lancet Global Health, February 2021
  • McCormick I, Mactaggart I, xxxxx, Burton MJ Ramke J. Eye health indicators for universal health coverage: results of a global stakeholder prioritisation process. Br J Ophthalmol [submitted]
  • McCormick I, MacTaggart I, Bastawrous A, Burton MJ, Ramke J. Effective refractive error coverage: An eye health indicator to measure progress towards universal health coverage. Ophthalmic Physiol Optics 2020;40(1):1-5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31879992/
  • Lee C, Ramke J, McCormick I, Zhang JH, Aghaji A, Mwangi N, Burn H, Yusufu M, He M, Silva JC, Burton MJ. Are we advancing universal health coverage through cataract services? Protocol for a scoping review BMJ Open 2020;10: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32641342/
  • Ramke J, Zwi AB, Silva JC, Mwangi N, Rono H, Gichangi M, Qureshi B, Gilbert CE. Evidence for universal eye health plans. Bull World Health Organ 2018;96:695-704. https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/96/10/18-213686.pdf
  • Mactaggart I, Wallace S, Ramke J, Burton M, Bastawrous A, Limburg H, Qureshi MB, Foster A, Kuper H. The Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness: Strengthening its use in eye health service planning. Bull World Health Organ 2018;96:726-8. https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/96/10/18-217794/en/
  • Ramke J, Gilbert CE, Lee AC, Ackland P, Limburg H, Foster A. Effective cataract surgical coverage: an indicator for measuring quality-of-care in the context of Universal Health Coverage. PLoS One 2017;12(3):e0172342. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28249047/
  • Ramke J, Gilbert CE. Universal Eye Health: Are we getting closer? Lancet Global Health 2017;5(9):e843–e44. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(17)30302-9/fulltext
  • Ramke J, Petkovic J, Welch V, Blignault I, Gilbert CE, Blanchet K, Christensen R, Zwi AB, Tugwell P. Interventions to improve access to cataract surgical services and their impact on equity in low- and middle-income countries. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.  2017, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD011307. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD011307. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6486054/