Ethical Perspective: Five Unacceptable Trade-offs on the Path to Universal Health Coverage’, Norheim, O.  International Journal of Health Policy and Management. 2015 Nov; 4(11): 711–714.

Ethical Perspective: Five Unacceptable Trade-offs on the Path to Universal Health Coverage’, Norheim, O. International Journal of Health Policy and Management. 2015 Nov; 4(11): 711–714.

This article discusses what ethicists have called “unacceptable trade-offs” in health policy choices related to universal health coverage (UHC). Since the fiscal space is constrained, trade-offs need to be made. But some trade-offs are unacceptable on the path to universal coverage. Unacceptable choices include, among other examples from low-income countries, to expand coverage for services with lower priority such as coronary bypass surgery before securing universal coverage for high-priority services such as skilled birth attendance and services for easily preventable or treatable fatal childhood diseases. Services of the latter kind include oral rehydration therapy for children with diarrhea and antibiotics for children with pneumonia. The article explains why such trade-offs are unfair and unacceptable even if political considerations may push in the opposite direction.

Five unacceptable trade-offs in pathway to UHC_Norheim_WHO