A letter to The Lancet from Ms Gabriela Cueva and Dr Justin...
UHC2030's mission is to create a movement for accelerating equitable and sustainable progress towards universal health coverage (UHC). UHC means that all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. UHC2030 is a multi-stakeholder platform which brings together diverse voices and perspectives for the common goal of achieving UHC, sustains momentum around UHC commitments, and promotes collective action. We convene, build connections and promote enhanced political and financial commitments for UHC, more coherent health systems strengthening by all relevant health partners, inclusive approaches, and accountability for results.
We are delighted to announce the appointment of two new Co-Chairs of the UHC2030 Steering Committee: Ms Gabriela Cuevas Barron, Member of Parliament at the Mexican Congress and current member of the UHC Movement Political Advisory Panel, and Australian community advocate Dr Justin Koonin, President of ACON (AIDS Council of New South Wales) and current UHC2030 Steering Committee member.
It means that we say a huge thank you and farewell to our outgoing Co-Chairs Professor llona Kickbusch, Chair, International Advisory Board, Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies Geneva and Dr Githinji Gitahi, Global CEO and Director General of AMREF Health Africa Group. Together, they have steered the universal health coverage (UHC) movement through some incredible achievements including high levels of country-led activism for UHC and bringing together a range of global stakeholders to collectively influence the outcome of the Political Declaration on UHC during the UN High-Level Meeting on UHC. We thank you deeply for your commitment, engagement and energy in driving this UHC agenda forward during your period as UHC2030 Co-Chairs and know that you will continue to support the movement.
As we look to the future and understand the urgent need to turn political commitment to UHC into action, particularly as now the world faces the harsh impact of COVID-19, we welcome Gabriela Cuevas Barron and Justin Koonin to lead us.
Each of the new Co-Chairs bring particular experiences, knowledge and networks which will strengthen UHC2030’s efforts to provide a solid multi-stakeholder platform for UHC.
Gabriela Cuevas Barron said, “Throughout my experience working on national legislation and finding agreements in multilateral contexts, I have found that global initiatives must be closely linked and engaged with both national and local circumstances in order to be effective. This entails considerable time and work to consider the views of all relevant stakeholders, while advancing towards a consensus at all times. Progress towards UHC demands close linkages and interaction with implementation processes at the national level, as these processes involve review by the legislative and executive branches of government.”
Justin Koonin said, “We are at an extraordinary moment in global health. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed all the inequities which keep us from achieving health for all. At the same time, it has given us the opportunity to rebuild our health systems differently, and the determination to ensure that we build bridges across geographies and sectors in doing so. We will only be successful if all of us – communities and civil society, governments, multilateral organisations, philanthropists, the private sector – pull our weight. I am thrilled to be able to serve UHC2030 in this capacity, to continue to work alongside the extraordinary people joining forces in the UHC movement, and to placing justice at the heart of health.”
Gabriela Cuevas Barron biography
Gabriela Cuevas Barron has been a member of the UHC Movement Political Advisory Panel of UHC2030 Steering Committee since 2020. Active in politics since she was 15 years old, she was elected Federal Member of Parliament for the first time at age 21. She has been Federal Member of Parliament three times, Local Member of Parliament, and a Constituent Member of Parliament in the Constituent Assembly of Mexico City. Additionally, she was the first woman to be elected Mayor of the Miguel Hidalgo Delegation. She also chaired the Foreign Relations Commission when she served as Senator.
She is a Member of the High-Level Steering Group of Every Woman, Every Child, and Co-Chair of The Lancet COVID-19 Commission’s Task Force on Humanitarian Relief, Social Protection, & Vulnerable Groups. She is also a member of the Task Force on Global Health Diplomacy and Cooperation, and the Regional Task Force for Latin America.
In 2017 Gabriela Cuevas Barron became the youngest and the second woman President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). In her term, Gabriela worked to increase the prominence and prestige of the IPU as the global institution for parliamentarians. She is Honorary President of the IPU. She was decorated with the grade of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by the Government of France, and the Cavaliere di Gran Croce, Ordine Equestre di Saint’ Agata on behalf of the Government of the Republic of San Marino.
Justin Koonin biography
Justin Koonin has represented Global North Civil Society Organisations on the UHC2030 Steering Committee since 2017. He is co-chair of the WHO-hosted Social Participation Technical Network, co-chair of the SDG3 Global Action Plan Civil Society Advisory Group, and civil society representative to the Access to COVID Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) and the Health Data Collaborative Stakeholder Representative Group
At a national level, Justin Koonin is President of ACON (formerly AIDS Council of New South Wales), Australia’s largest civil society organisation working on HIV prevention, care and support, and the health of sexuality and gender diverse people more broadly. He is a former chair of the New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, the peak advocacy body for gay and lesbian people in that state.
Justin Koonin’s work spans a diverse range of sectors. In addition to his efforts in health and human rights, he has worked as a postdoctoral researcher in mathematics at the University of Sydney, as a data scientist at PwC, and (currently) as a fund manager at Allan Gray. He holds a Ph.D. in Pure Mathematics from the University of Sydney, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder, as well as a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.