Summary of the 2023 UN High-level Meeting on Universal Health...
7th Global Symposium HSR2022, 31 October – 4 November
The Seventh Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (HSR2022) organised by Health Systems Global (HSG), comes at a time when more than ever we need collaboration and collective learning to build strong health systems that will support a healthy, fair and safe world. The theme for HSR2022 is “Health Systems Performance in the Political Agenda: Sharing Lessons for Current and Future Global Challenges”. Focused on the high-level political agenda and on the ground realities, HSR2022 is set to provide a catalytic forum where we can come together to share, raise awareness, advocate for change, and develop partnerships for action.
Less than one year out from the 2023 UN High-Level Meeting on UHC (UN HLM), we face a critical moment where we need leadership to prioritise investment in resilient and equitable health systems. Achieving universal health coverage (UHC) and health security is dependent on this action. UHC2030 represents the global movement for stronger health systems to accelerate progress towards UHC. UHC2030 convenes a group of Health Systems Related Initiatives made up of international partnerships and alliances committed to promoting the principles of the UHC2030 Global Compact for Progress towards UHC and common approaches to strengthening health systems embedded in Healthy Systems for Universal Health Coverage - a Joint Vision for Healthy Lives, the UHC Key Asks and Action on health systems, for universal health coverage and health security. At the HSR2022 symposium many of the UHC2030 Related Initiatives will be showcasing current outcomes and efforts in making health systems more equitable and resilient. Not all the Related Initiatives will present at HSR2022 but collectively the group represent a comprehensive, aligned, resourceful and powerful community and partnership for strengthening health systems and achieving UHC and health security.
Orienting health systems towards a primary health care approach
The Primary Health Care Performance Initiative (PHCPI) works to elevate primary health care (PHC) policies as a path to achieving UHC. The Allies for Improving PHC convened by PHCPI, recently published an open letter urging leaders to prioritise PHC approaches. At HSR2022 the PHCPI will present new ways of measuring primary health care at a subnational level. The satellite session “The Power of Subnational Measurement Innovation to Strengthen Primary Health Care Post-COVID: Lessons from Four Countries” will showcase studies in assessing PHC in Costa Rica, Colombia, Ghana and Kenya. The UHC Partnership (UHC P) is one of WHO’s largest platforms for international cooperation on UHC and PHC. Read this blog to learn more on the UHC Partnership’s role in supporting countries efforts towards UHC, through a PHC approach and why it is crucial now for global health agencies to continue reinforcing strategic and technical leadership as well as operational research towards UHC in countries.
Using research and evidence to develop effective health policies
The Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (the Alliance) plays a leading role at HSR2022, promoting recent knowledge on health systems and providing policy makers with critical thinking and practical ideas based on research and evidence. The satellite session “Reimagining Health Systems for the Post-Pandemic Future” will feature a discussion on the importance of integrating health security and health promotion efforts within future endeavors to strengthen health systems. The satellite session: “Transitions from external assistance for health in the era of COVID-19: What have we learned and what needs to change?” supported by the WHO, UHC2030 and the Alliance, will present evidence from six low- and middle-income countries showcasing and discussing the development of new models of external assistance to sustain the coverage of critical health interventions supported by donors. Another satellite session on” Evaluation of Health Policy and Systems Research in Multiple Low- and Middle- Income Countries: Lessons from the field”, will present approaches and findings of a mixed methods assessment on the growth of health policy and systems research investments in 11 countries over two decades.
Strengthening health information systems aligned with country priorities
The Health Data Collaborative (HDC) is a collaborative of countries and partners supporting data and digital efforts for better health outcomes. The HDC aims to strengthen country health information systems (HIS), align partner resources with country priorities and adapt global tools to local contexts to ultimately improve the availability, quality and use of data for decision-making and tracking progress towards the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Collecting, storing, sharing, analyzing and using quality data is vital to better inform health budgets, policies and programs. Approaches should be aligned with country priorities with strong coordination and alignment among different stakeholders. Evidence from a recent study commissioned by the HDC in five countries to assess alignment of investments in HIS, shows that processes for data collection are fragmented and driven by the needs of different global partners, rather than country priorities or national decision making processes. This blog summarizes key findings from case studies and highlights actions to reduce fragmentation and to scale up impact.
Facilitating knowledge sharing through cross country learning
The Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage (JLN) is a network of practitioners and policymakers that work to bridge the gap between theory and practice in extending UHC. Jointly with PHCPI, under the Transforming Health Systems Collaborative, JLN convened countries to engage in sharing practical experiences with a specific focus on strengthening PHC. This blog provides insights as to how Ghana, Malaysia, Kenya, Liberia and Colombia have worked towards comprehensive PHC and have expanded access to health services tackling non communicable diseases using digital health technologies and actions aiming to strengthen PHC at the community and sub-district levels.
The Global Network for Social Health Protection and Health Financing for UHC (P4H) is a network dedicated to health financing and social health protection for UHC. P4H recently organised a series of webinars (also in French and Russian) to share experiences in strengthening health financing systems in different countries. The network has undertaken a cross country comparative study on COVID-19 financing in China, Mongolia, the Republic of Korea and Singapore (forthcoming). Jointly with other partners, under the auspices of the ACT-A Health Systems Connector, P4H developed the Process Guide for National Budgetary Dialogue which aims enhancing national governments abilities in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through reorienting budgetary arrangements, and supported implementation in two countries: Ethiopia and Namibia. P4H’s country focal persons play an instrumental role in facilitating social health protection and health financing policy and reforms aimed at UHC. In 2021-2022, they supported policy dialogues in Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kuwait, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger and Viet Nam documented in the P4H 2021-2022 annual review.
Bringing people’s voices into policy and decision making
The Health Systems Governance Collaborative (HSGC) is a network that fosters creative and safe space to address health system governance challenges. The collaborative and its partners recently launched a new advocacy video: “Health is all about people – it’s time to invest in social participation!” (also available in French and Spanish). The video shows how the WHO Handbook on Social Participation for UHC can provide practical guidance for policymakers in engaging with the population, communities, and civil society for inclusive health policy making. The satellite session organised by WHO “Going the extra mile: building government capacities for meaningful social participation”, will present key findings from the WHO Handbook on Social Participation for UHC, build capacities for meaningful engagement and discuss ways to leverage political commitments to drive towards more inclusive and meaningful public participation in health-decision making processes.
Empowering the health workforce
Under the WHO-led Global Health Workforce Network (GHWN), the GHWN Youth Hub is an interprofessional community of practice, focusing on youth issues related to employment, skills, and the work environment in the health and social care sector. The youth hub advocates for improved population health and for climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable health care systems. GHWN Youth Hub recently organised an online conference “Youth and Planetary Health: Sustainable Collaboration for the Future”, which amplified the role of youth health workers in supporting functioning health care systems. In collaboration with the GHWN Health Workforce Leadership Hub, WHO has published a prototype curricula package: Human Resources for Health leadership and management. The publication will inform the design and delivery of courses by academic and training institutions worldwide, contributing to the development and strengthening of a critical mass of global expertise and capacity on human resources for health. The Fifth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health will take place April 3-5, 2023 under the theme of Protecting, Safeguarding and Investing in the Health and Care Workforces. The call for submissions for parallel sessions is now open until 15 November 2022.
UHC2030 will host the satellite session “Political Accountability for Universal Health Coverage: A Multi-stakeholder View on Translating Commitment into Action”. This session stems from work in tracking political commitments towards UHC through State of UHC commitment review. Tracking action on commitments towards UHC is essential for government accountability. Through this process we get insights into why global progress towards UHC is off track to reach the goal of covering an additional one billion people by 2023. This session stems from UHC2030 work in tracking political commitments towards UHC through the State of UHC commitment review and will convene civil society, private sector, and policymakers to discuss ways to improve accountability for UHC through policies and system change.
See here for more information about HSR Symposium events sponsored or co-sponsored by UHC2030 and partners.
Watch this video to learn more about the different partnerships’ and alliances’ contributions towards stronger health systems for achieving UHC goals.