World Health Day – Universal Health Coverage

April 7 marks World Health Day, a day that advocates for universal health care for everyone, everywhere. The World Health Organization believes that everyone has a role in achieving and maintaining universal health care. With nearly half of the population unable to obtain essential health services, there are several organizations stepping up to bridge the gap. Through conducting research, providing accessible education, or increasing access to care, members of the Hilton Prize Coalition are improving health care in the world’s most underserved communities.

Here are some examples of a few Coalition Members taking action in support of global health:

The newest member of the Hilton Prize Coalition, icddr,b, supports lifesaving research and provides care in some of the poorest areas in Bangladesh. Their high-quality laboratory facilities conduct research into diseases that affect low and middle-income countries. Icddr,b supports Matlab, the longest running demographic surveillance field site in the global South, operating since 1966. Matlab is located in an area of rural Bangladesh, where it has collected data from more than 200,000 people living in 142 villages. The data, which includes health, demographic and social characteristics, has contributed to a wide range of research that has helped shape policy and practice. Due to icddr,b research, subsequent policy changes, as well as improved childhood care and family planning, life expectancy has increased from 50 years to 65 years.

Amref Health Africa, winner of the Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 1999, contributes to universal health coverage by equipping local workers with the knowledge they need to provide care to their communities. Their approach utilizes “African solutions to tackle critical African health challenges with African expertise.” Amref Health Africa partners with other organizations to support the mobile platform Leap that trains health workers wherever they may be. Leap guides participants through an approved training curriculum through basic SMS and audio messages which allow health workers to learn on their phones. Health workers within the same area can communicate with one another via messages. The platform even stores patient health information for better monitoring and treatment. In rural African communities where Leap is used, there has been a 20% increase in people using immunization services.

One of the key programs offered by 2016 Hilton Prize Laureate the Task Force for Global Health is the Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction (PIVI). The program enables seasonal influenza vaccination programs in low- and middle-income countries. Hundreds of thousands of people have died from the flu, and if influenza is untreated it may spread into a pandemic. PIVI works with countries so that if a pandemic occurs, systems will be in place to distribute vaccines and stop the infectious disease from spreading farther. Pandemic preparation allows countries to move resources quickly, protecting the global community from the spread of infectious disease.

Not all health issues are physical. According to Partners in Health, the 2005 Hilton Prize Laureate, untreated mental disorders account for 13% of the global burden of disease. By 2030, the leading cause of disability around the world will be depression. Partners in Health has made mental health a central part of their primary care package. The community-based approach was enacted in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake and has since been integrated into the primary care system in hospitals. Partners in Health continues to develop mental health programs around the world which are designed to fit the needs of the communities they serve.

About The Hilton Prize Coalition
The Hilton Prize Coalition is an independent alliance of the 22 winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the Fellows Program, the Collaborative Models Program and the Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat, Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit, or contact Follow the Hilton Prize Coalition on Twitter and LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.


Subscribe to the HPC Newsletter