Policy Surveillance of Financing for Universal Health Coverage (2021-2022)


An important United Nations sustainable development goal target for health aims is to achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all. Significant resources have been invested to track progress of countries toward achievement of this goal. These efforts disproportionately focus on tracking implementation and outcome metrics without sufficient attention to the policy environment needed to achieve success.

One reason for this is the lack of high-quality data on universal health coverage (UHC) policies for many low- and middle-income countries. This limits the ability of policymakers, researchers, funders and others to conduct rigorous health policy analyses that advance UHC. Solving this data problem will create opportunities for cross-country comparative analysis as well as greater understanding of the impact of different policy experiments on UHC progress.

Project Description

This project aims to create a centralized source to track the evolution of UHC financing policy for low- and middle-income countries. Using a policy surveillance approach, the project team will conduct a systematic identification, collection, coding and analysis of laws and policies that influence financing for UHC in each country.

After defining the project scope, the team will conduct background research, draft coding questions, collect policy and law data, code the policies and analyze the policies. 

The team will develop a publicly available centralized source of UHC financing policies and laws for low- and middle-income countries and create an interactive data visualization dashboard of these policies. Team members will produce a report on the evolution of UHC financing policies and lay the foundations for expansion to other UHC policies, such as the health workforce, access to medicines and health service delivery organizations.

Learn more about this project team by viewing the team's video.

Anticipated Outputs

Publicly available datasets to support decision-making and research on UHC financing policy; peer-reviewed manuscript; interactive web application; proof-of-concept for funding proposals

Student Opportunities

Ideally, this project team will include 3 graduate students and 6 undergraduate students. Prospective student team members should express interest in policy, law and health. Graduate students should be studying or highly interested in global health, medicine, law or international finance. Undergraduate students studying global health, public policy or economics are preferred. 

Students will receive basic and advanced training in policy surveillance. They should be comfortable with simple online searches, basic analysis and synthesis of formal text and writing. Fluency in more than one language is preferred but not required. Students able to understand multiple languages will have wider set of countries to choose from on this project. Knowledge of and perspectives on global health is preferred but not required.

Students will have opportunities to develop important research skills, grow their networks, and interact with policymakers in different low- and middle-income countries. They will have the opportunity to coauthor a peer-reviewed public health paper and help develop the online interactive application.

Students will work in small teams to achieve key deliverables. The team will meet weekly to discuss progress with project tasks, address concerns/challenges and discuss future work. Meetings will also be used to provide training and research skills for student-researchers. Between meetings, project leaders will be available to address students. Team leaders will foster approaches that encourage both vertical and horizontal transfers of knowledge and skills. 

Students will have the opportunity to work on the project during either Summer 2021 or Summer 2022. The summer component is optional but encouraged. Students will work for 10 weeks (40 hours per week) during the summer.

Siddharth Dixit will serve as project manager.


Summer 2021 – Summer 2022

  • Summer 2021 (optional): Learn policy surveillance approach; develop online data visualization hub
  • Fall 2021: Complete policy surveillance process for 20 middle-income countries and make data publicly available
  • Spring 2022: Complete policy surveillance process for 20 low-income countries and make data publicly available
  • Summer 2022 (optional): Submit manuscript of findings from 40-country analysis to peer-reviewed journal


Academic credit available for fall and spring semesters; summer funding available


Image: Universal Health Coverage Day 2020, by Trinity Care Foundation, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Universal Health Coverage Day 2020.

Team Leaders

  • Osondu Ogbuoji, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Gavin Yamey, Duke Global Health Institute

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Ipchita Bharali, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Siddharth Dixit, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Rosemary Fernholz, Sanford School of Public Policy
  • Indermit Gill, Sanford School of Public Policy
  • Wenhui Mao, Duke Global Health Institute

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Lindsay Cloud, PSP of the Center for Public Health Law Research at Temple University
  • Benjamin Mason Meier, Department of Public Policy, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Susan Sparkes, World Health Organization
  • Joshua Waimberg, PSP of the Center for Public Health Law Research at Temple University