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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Health for all

From: Bruno Gryseels <>

“Health Care for All” was defined fifteen years ago at a high-level meeting in Antwerp in October 2001, as an updated version of Alma Ata’s “Health for all”. The gathering of ministers of health, UN organizations and academia discussed the need for strong health care systems in the conceptualization of the Global Fund, which at that time was still embryonic. All ministers of health reaffirmed primary health care as their first and foremost priority, as a human right and as a precondition for sustainable disease control. International organizations rather felt that the funding momentum for specific diseases should not be wasted by old concepts. The “Antwerp Declaration on Health Care for All”, the meeting documents and a special issue of International Health Policy and Planning can still be found at

Inevitably, the discussion resurfaced years later, first as the “need for health systems strengthening” and later as “Universal Health Coverage”. They are not the same, however.

Bruno Gryseels
 Director Institute of Tropical Medicine (

Re:  Waitzkin, H. (2015). "Universal health coverage: The strange romance of The Lancet, MEDICC, and Cuba." Social Medicine 9(2): 93-97. 

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