The WHO Barcelona Office is part of the Division of Health Systems and Public Health of the Regional Office for Europe which has its headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark and supports 53 Member States of the WHO European Region.
The office is a centre of excellence in health financing for universal health coverage – a key part of WHO’s work in the European Region and globally. The Office is responsible for monitoring progress towards universal health coverage (UHC), in particular, the extent to which people are protected from facing financial hardship when they are ill. Financial protection against the cost of ill health is one of the indicators of the recently adopted United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda.
Many poor and other vulnerable population groups are concentrated in cities, and their access to health services need special attention. They are most likely to forego seeking health care or face financial hardship as a result of using services/medicines if they have to pay out of pocket. One of the office projects is to analize the impact of people using and paying for health care services and to measure the impact of out of pocket expenditures on poverty.
About 3.7 billion people live in cities today. A further 1 billion people will be added by 2030, with 90% of the growth being in low- and middle-income countries. This intensifies the need to realize the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of ensuring universal health coverage (UHC): that all people obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them, by 2030.
In this regard, cities can lead in efforts to build a truly sustainable socity, in which all people have access to healthcare. The Barcelona Office of the WHO provides support to local governments, public administrations and agencies responsible for health services, and interested citizens to achieve this goal.