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Health for All: The Journey to Universal Health Coverage

The book is available for download via the University of York Online Digital Library

CGHH’s latest publication ‘Health for All: The Journey to Universal Health Coverage’ (published by Orient BlackSwan) was released in May 2015. The volume is based on the 2014 World Health Organization Global Health Histories seminar series on the same topic, and the latest in a line of publications intended to reach out and transfer to a wider audience the knowledge generated by these landmark seminars. It gathers together all of the topics featured in 2014’s seminar series; The Origins of Primary Health CareSri Lanka – An Example of Model HealthcareMexico: Uneven development and Primary Health CareNepal: Primary Health Care, Universal Health Coverage and Foreign AidSouth Africa: Primary Health Care as a Harbinger of DemocracyThe UK, NHS and Universal Health Coverage, and Civil registration: The anchor for Universal Health Coverage?, as well as new chapters on related questions. Each forms an independent chapter, each authored by academic researchers and WHO official. The articles are complemented by a centre spread of feature photographs selected from several repositories and highlighting important episodes and stories from the chapters. ‘Health for All’ is bilingual, in English and Portuguese side by side.

Health for All: The Journey to Universal Health Coverage Cover

The global movement for primary health care (PHC), as advocated by the World Health Organization and its sister UN agencies, represented a most ambitious effort to expand health coverage fairly around the world. Adopted in the declaration of the International Conference on Primary Health Care held in Alma Ata, USSR (now Almaty, Kazakhstan) in 1978, it became a core concept of the WHO’s goal of better health for all by the year 2000.

The book was officially launched at a WHO special event sponsored by the Sri Lankan Health Ministry, co-organised with the WHO Department for Knowledge, Ethics and Research, and supported generously by the Wellcome Trust, during the 68th World Health Assembly in Geneva. For a full report on this activity, please see our page "World Health Assembly Special Event”.


1) Socrates Litsios - On the Origin of Primary Health Care

2) Marcos Cueto - The WHO and Primary Health Care during the 1980s

3) Margaret Jones - The Sri Lankan path to health for all from the colonial period to Alma-Ata

4) Gabriela Soto Laveaga - Mexico’s Historical Models for Providing Rural Healthcare

5) Susan Heydon - Nepal: Primary Health Care, Universal Health Care and Foreign Aid

6) Vanessa Noble - From Pioneer to Pariah to a Post-Apartheid Phoenix? Primary Health Care in South Africa

7) Martin Gorsky - The NHS in Britain: Any Lessons from History for Universal Health Coverage?

8) Xiaoping Fang - Reinterpreting the Role of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Public Health in Rural China in 1970s

9) Shane Doyle - Missionary Medicine and Primary Health Care in Uganda: Implications for Universal Health Care in Africa

10) Susie Perera - Primary health care reforms in Sri Lanka: aiming at preserving universal access to health

11) Priyankar Chand & Dr Ramesh Kharel - Politics and PHC: Nepal’s Story of Primary Health Care

12) Zhang Qi - Traditional and complementary medicine in primary health care

13) João Nunes - Brazil: The Family Health Strategy

14) Hooman Momen & Maria Goreti Rosa-Freitas - Brazil: The Challenge of Universal Health Coverage

15) Simon Szreter - Registration as the anchor for universal health coverage? The English early modern historical example

16) Ian Smith & Sally Smith - Universal Health Coverage and Missionary Medicine

All at CGHH would like to express our gratitude to all of the authors involved in this project, the WHO Global Health Histories initiative and to the University of York’s Department of History, Orient BlackSwan, and the Wellcome Trust for their generous support of this project. We hope you enjoy the book.