12 décembre 2023

UHC2030’s Health systems strengthening related initiatives are fortifying the global movement for UHC and capitalizing on momentum from the UN HLM on UHC to engage policy-makers and hold leaders accountable for their UHC commitments.

Photo of meeting room at UN HLM on UHC

In September 2023, at the United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting on universal health coverage (UHC), political leaders reaffirmed their commitment to taking action for UHC. Building on the 2019 Political Declaration on UHC, the 2023 Political Declaration provides a useful roadmap to accelerate implementation towards achieving health for everyone, everywhere, and ensuring that no one is left behind. It acknowledges the importance of health systems strengthening based on a primary health care (PHC) approach, which is critical not just for centring people and communities, but also for effective health emergency prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, which has never been more salient.

To make health for all a reality, UHC2030’s Health systems strengthening related initiatives are fortifying the global movement for UHC and capitalizing on momentum from the United Nations high-level meeting on UHC to engage policy-makers and hold leaders accountable for their UHC commitments. Together, we’re promoting mutually reinforcing action among a broader range of partners and constituencies; sharing information, learning and resources; and collaborating towards shared health systems strengthening goals.

Each member plays a unique role in accelerating progress on UHC and translating the 2023 UHC Political Declaration into action. Here is an overview of each member’s contributions.


Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research

Health policy and systems research, learning and knowledge dissemination are powerful tools for accelerating UHC. The Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research is contributing to achieving UHC by 2030 and implementing the Political Declaration by fostering research to strengthen national health plans and policies based on a PHC approach, and to make evidence-based decisions at all levels on UHC, including policy formulation, implementation and service delivery.

The Alliance’s imperative is to contribute to research programmes that bolster health equity by ensuring universal access to quality essential health services and that help PHC to align with evolving societal needs and expectations. It supports programmes that shed light on sustainably integrating primary care services within health systems and programmes that provide actionable guidance on emerging, rapidly evolving areas, including digital health, noncommunicable diseases, the role of health systems in addressing the climate crisis, and preparedness and resilience related to health emergencies.

The Alliance’s commitment extends beyond research: it actively engages with policymakers, decision-makers and communities (and funds researchers to do the same) to ensure that research findings catalyse real-world impact and promote greater access to health care for people everywhere.

[Key contribution areas in the UHC Political Declaration: paragraphs 49, 51, 81]

Health Data Collaborative

Data is the foundation for effective, efficient PHC planning. But data needs to be processed and delivered to the right person, at the right time, in the right format. The Health Data Collaborative (HDC) contributes to progress towards UHC by bringing partners and countries together for a paradigm shift in evidence-based decision-making at all levels of UHC, particularly from a PHC perspective. Communities are at the heart of PHC, and data from marginalized communities often left behind are crucial to track, understand and address inequities in PHC.

Unfortunately, investments in data systems are often projectized and fragmented, leading to inefficient reporting burdens by health workers. HDC believes these challenges can be overcome if partners work together based on community needs and country priorities, to align and harmonize investments. 

HDC works to demonstrate how a health systems approach is needed to collect, share, safely store, analyse and use data from Health Information Systems, Civil Registration or surveys. It contributes to implementing the UHC Political Declaration by bringing diverse partners together to strengthen health information systems; collect quality, timely, reliable data; and better utilize data to monitor progress, identify gaps and accelerate progress towards UHC.

[Key contribution areas in the UHC Political Declaration: paragraphs 81, 101]

Health Systems Global

Synthesising evidence through research and transforming knowledge into action are vital to building strong, resilient, robust health systems – founded on PHC principles – for UHC. Health Systems Global (HSG) is a leading international membership society that contributes to accelerating UHC by working through collaborative efforts and multidisciplinary networks to promote evidence-based decision-making, policy advocacy, and capacity-building in health policy and systems research.

HSG helps to connect the dots, facilitating knowledge exchange and innovative solutions to propel countries closer to a future where quality health care is a universal right. Our commitment to fostering health systems growth and development, combined with a vibrant global community of researchers, policymakers and practitioners, positions HSG as a pivotal player in implementing the UHC Political Declaration by building stronger partnerships for health research and development to achieve evidence-based decisions at all levels of UHC. In the global movement towards achieving UHC, HSG aims to represent a driving force in making health care accessible to all and ensuring that no one is left behind.

[Key contribution areas in the UHC Political Declaration: paragraphs 73, 81]

P4H

Ensuring that all people can access the health services they need, without financial hardship, requires robust structures, global solidarity and collective effort for social health protection and health financing. As a global network promoting international partnerships in health financing and social health protection for UHC, P4H supports the implementation of the UHC Political Declaration through improved collaboration and coordination at global, regional and national levels.

P4H contributes to ensuring universal access to quality health services without financial hardship, particularly for vulnerable populations, and to changing the course of worsening financial protection by improving public domestic funding and building sustainable social health protection systems. Through its unique setup of P4H Country Focal Persons, the P4H Network facilitates country dialogues on social health protection and health financing to increase high-level multisector commitment in countries.

The P4H Leadership program for UHC will be implemented in Asia and Africa to strengthen country governments’ capacities in exercising strategic leadership and collective actions to achieve UHC. P4H also supports collaboration with other health system networks and digital knowledge management to promote better resource allocation and improve health systems efficiency and public financial management to ensure that no one is left behind on the road to UHC.

[Key contribution areas in the UHC Political Declaration: paragraphs 14, 49, 88]

SDG3 GAP – PHC Accelerator

PHC is one of seven accelerator areas identified by SDG3 GAP partners to focus and align efforts to accelerate country progress towards SDG3. To contribute to developing people-centred PHC and achieving UHC through PHC, the PHC Accelerator supports countries in developing and delivering a comprehensive package of essential health services using the PHC operational framework and the PHC measurement framework and indicators as key tools.

The PHC Accelerator aims to follow the E4As strategic approach - Engage, Assess, Align, Accelerate and Account – with WHO and UNICEF as the lead agencies driving multilateral collaboration for national efforts on PHC. By weaving together multisectoral policy and action, empowering people and communities, and ensuring people-centred integrated health services at both population and individual levels, the PHC Accelerator advances the PHC vision established in the Astana Declaration on Primary Health Care. It implements the UHC Political Declaration, which places PHC as a cornerstone for achieving UHC and health security, by addressing the broader determinants of health, access, use and affordability of quality health services. These are essential for achieving UHC, which plays a pivotal role in realizing other SDGs and targets.

[Key contribution areas in the UHC Political Declaration: paragraphs 30, 51, 53]

Unitaid

As clearly stated in the UHC Political Declaration, ensuring that people and communities have access to quality, accessible, affordable essential medicines is integral to achieving UHC. Unitaid contributes to implementing the UHC Political Declaration and achieving UHC by helping to fast-track the development and approval of innovative tests, treatments and tools to provide access to the better health products needed to deliver high-quality, people-centred care.

Unitaid also works on lowering the prices of health products through negotiations, promoting the creation of generic markets, and supporting facilitation of licensing agreements to encourage competition. This drives cost-savings and makes limited health budgets go further. Unitaid endeavours to simplify health care with self-tests people can use at home; point-of-care diagnostic tests; and tolerable, easy-to-take medicines that can be used at the community level and primary health centres. This helps to reduce the number of people visiting clinics or hospitals and frees up resources and health workers’ time.

By making new health products available and affordable for people in low- and middle-income countries, Unitaid plays its part in the movement towards achieving UHC and ensuring the right to health for all.

[Key contribution areas in the UHC Political Declaration: paragraphs 69-75]

Universal Health Coverage Partnership

Our commitments on UHC alone aren’t enough to change people’s lives. Only implementation of those commitments will move us towards greater health coverage and greater health equity. The UHC Partnership, based in the WHO Special Programme on Primary Health Care, contributes to UHC by working closely with Member states through WHO country offices to translate stated UHC commitments into tangible actions and results. Focusing on the radical reorientation of health systems towards PHC to support the provision of essential health services with financial protection for all, the UHC Partnership carries out its work through technical assistance provided by 145 health policy advisers in over 125 countries.

The UHC Partnership helps Member states implement the UHC Political Declaration by fostering policy dialogue, strengthening legislative and regulatory frameworks, promoting policy coherence, and ensuring sustainable and adequate financing for health. It covers a wide range of areas, including strategic planning, harmonization and alignment, health governance, health financing, health workforce, medicines, medical products, vaccines, gender equity, human rights, mental health, noncommunicable diseases and climate, among others. It works to translate health for all from a documented commitment to a lived reality for people everywhere.

[Key contribution areas in the UHC Political Declaration: paragraphs 47, 49, 103]

Working for Health

Skilled health and care workers are fundamental to delivering health for all. Working for Health contributes to UHC by supporting countries to enhance the capacity, skills, and performance of their health workforce, and to invest in economic growth, employment, social protection and delivering quality health services for all.

The 2023 UHC Political Declaration made meaningful commitments to strengthening the health workforce and prioritizes PHC, multisectoral collaboration, investments, and addressing gender inequality within the health workforce, in alignment with the Working for Health 2022–2030 Action Plan. Working for Health makes tangible impacts in health systems through investments in workforce education, employment and retention, including through the Africa Health Workforce Investment Charter.

At the country-level, health labour market analyses inform workforce policy, planning and decision-making, support the development of workforce strategies and investment plans, promote multisectoral policy dialogues including unions and professional associations, and provide essential safeguards and protections for the workforce. Working for Health helps countries take action to address the shortfall of health workers needed to deliver essential health services for all, and to deliver on the UHC Political Declaration.

[Key contribution areas in the UHC Political Declaration: paragraphs 39, 91]


As highlight above, achieving UHC requires multistakeholder efforts in many critical areas of health systems strengthening, including research and learning, strengthening PHC, investing in the health workforce, effective use of data and evidence-based decision-making, ensuring access to essential medicines, and social health protection and health financing.

Click here to learn more about health systems strengthening related initiatives.

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