Health is a human right. The human right to health starts with health promotion and prevention. Preventing health problems from occurring or expanding represents by far the best approach to reaching health for all. That is why we are calling for a pivot to prevention. Without systematic efforts to tackle upstream drivers (social, commercial, environmental) of ill-health and modifiable risk factors, UHC will be unattainable in many countries.
Secondly, we call for an increase in sustainable financing for health: domestic resource mobilization through health promotion taxation holds largely untapped potential. Such fiscal policies effectively and significantly reduce the burden on the health system by reducing consumption and exposure to risk factors, whilst mobilizing resources to further promote health. For example, already in 2010, the World Health Report said:
“Raising taxes on alcohol to 40% of the retail price could have an even bigger impact [than a 50% increase in tobacco taxation].
“Estimates for 12 low-income countries show that consumption levels would fall by more than 10%, while tax revenues would more than triple to a level amounting to 38% of total health spending in those countries. “
Alcohol taxation, like other health promotion taxes, is pro-poor, pro-sustainable development and pro-Universal Health Coverage.