Global health security and universal health coverage have been frequently considered as “two sides of the same coin”. Yet, greater analysis is required as to whether and where these two ideals converge, and what important differences exist. A consequence of ignoring their individual characteristics is to distort global and local health priorities in an effort to streamline policymaking and funding activities. This paper examines the areas of convergence and divergence between global health security and universal health coverage, both conceptually and empirically. We consider analytical concepts of risk and human rights as fundamental to both goals, but also identify differences in priorities between the two ideals. We support the argument that the process of health system strengthening provides the most promising mechanism of benefiting both goals.
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