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Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: An Essential Element of Universal Health Coverage

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Background document for the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 - Accelerating the promise


  • Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are an essential part of universal health coverage (UHC). Countries moving towards UHC need to consider how the SRHR needs of their population are met throughout the life course, from infancy and childhood through adolescence and into adulthood and old age.

  • To effectively meet the SRHR needs of people, a comprehensive approach to SRHR is required. Taking a comprehensive approach to SRHR entails adopting the full definition of SRHR and providing an essential package of SRHR interventions with a life course approach, applying equity in access, quality of care, without discrimination, and accountability across implementation.

  • A comprehensive approach to SRHR is cost-effective and affordable for most countries; however, certain countries will require increased investments to successfully adopt and progressively realize SRHR in UHC. Increased domestic resource mobilization is critical to sustain gains made so far and enable additional investments.

  • There are concrete steps that countries can take to advance towards UHC and universal access to quality SRHR interventions. These include mobilizing stakeholders within and beyond the health sector; analysing SRHR needs among all people and throughout the life course; mapping the resources available and systems constraints; and prioritizing and progressively implementing interventions at various levels of the health system and beyond for ensuring access to an essential package of SRHR interventions.

  • Several countries have made significant progress in the implementation of SRHR interventions. Examples in this paper illustrate good practices and lessons learned that can inspire and inform countries embarking on SRHR and UHC reform.