Financing health care for adolescents: a necessary part of universal health coverage

Catriona Waddingtona; Claudia Samboa
Bull World Health Organ.2015; 93:57-59

Abstract / Resumen
Adolescents – defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as persons aged 10-19 years – account for 1.2 billion or 18% of the world’s population. Adolescence is a crucial phase in human development, with rapid psychosocial and biological changes and it is often a period of experimentation and risk-taking. Health-related behaviours – such as patterns of alcohol use – affect physical and cognitive development, which can have an effect on long-term health. All these factors have implications for the types of health interventions that adolescents need. However, little is known about the impact of health financing choices on adolescents, a group rarely mentioned in the ongoing discussions about universal health coverage. How health care is financed is an important element of achieving universal coverage. WHO’s health financing cube shows how to approach universal coverage (Fig. 1), which includes extension of coverage to more people, offering more services and reducing direct payments at the time of health service use. There are many ways to do this, but do they work for adolescents? Here we show how an explicit focus on adolescents can be used to examine the extent to which a health financing system meets the needs of this group. Questions need to be asked about adolescent membership in a pooled funding scheme, the fees they have to pay, and the availability of specific services.

Keywords / Palabras clave: Adolescent Health, Universal Health Coverage, Health Financing, Health Services

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