SDC Thematic Working Aid: Health

Published on 1 January 2019

Since the publication of the 2004 World Development Report, there has been a growing recognition that decades of investments and action in global health have not led to equitable health gains for all (World Bank, 2003). With the 40th anniversary of the Alma Ata “Health for All by 2000” declaration in 2018, there is renewed interest in strengthening primary health care and the expansion of basic health services as a means of achieving greater health equity. The new Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has made clear his desire for a global movement to push for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030 (SDG target 3.8). Taking a UHC approach challenges established practices within global health financing, governance, and national-level policy-making processes that have long favoured biomedical and vertically-controlled health interventions.

At its core, a Leave No One Behind approach asks why there has been stagnation, and in some cases decline, in health outcomes for certain groups (Labonté et. al. 2007; Marmot, 2007; Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, 2008; Yazbeck 2009; World Health Organization, 2015a). According to Global Health Observatory data, 35% of children under five from the poorest quintiles experience stunting versus 16% of children in the richest quintiles in 85 countries. In 54 countries, 37% of women with no education have their family planning needs satisfied versus 53% of women with secondary education or higher.

This publication was produced as part of the Poverty, Politics, and Participatory Methodologies in SDC project.

Cite this publication

Nelson, E. (2019) 'Health', SDC Thematic Working Aid, Geneva: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Citation copied


Image of Erica Nelson
Erica Nelson

Research Officer

Publication details



About this publication

Related content