A statement from UHC2030’s Co-Chairs on the occasion of the World...
The UHC2030 Private Sector Constituency (UHC2030 PSC), which is hosted by the World Bank Group, has released an updated statement on the private sector commitments toward universal health coverage (UHC), which includes a series of case studies to illustrate its wide-ranging contributions.1 The statement is a good example of how private sector entities can contribute to efforts towards UHC and take forward the UHC2030’s Action Agenda, which calls for greater multi-sectoral engagement, and participatory mechanisms for meaningful engagement of all stakeholders, including the private sector to advance UHC.2 The private sector stands together with other partners of the UHC2030 movement to support countries in accelerating their efforts to achieve UHC.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the private sector accounts for approximately 9 out of 10 jobs worldwide.3 This fact alone explains why the sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been explicitly designed to engage the private sector in addressing the world’s most pressing challenges.
Businesses play a critical role as an engine of economic growth and job creation, and contribute resources, expertise, and innovation that are indispensable in sustaining SDGs action. The United Nations has estimated that between USD $5 trillion and USD $7 trillion of annual investments are needed to realize the SDGs by 2030.4 Business has a role to play in meeting these needs. Companies involved in the health sector have already stepped up to the challenge by contributing significant financial resources to support sustainable development initiatives, in addition to the direct impact of their business.
Now that we are at the mid-point of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and as the world recovers from the deadliest pandemic in 100 years, accelerated progress and resource mobilization, strong commitments, and reinforced collaboration between public and private sectors are needed more than ever. These are essential enablers to reach the global target of achieving UHC, which is at the heart of the health-related SDG 3.
Progress is lagging and many health indicators are badly off track. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at the current rate of progress, up to five billion people could still be without access to essential health services by 2030, which would be significantly short of the SDG target. No single government, organization, or public or private sector can achieve UHC on its own, particularly when countries are facing a combination of socio-economic and political shocks such as climate change, natural disasters, inflation, and conflicts, which place even greater pressures on prioritizing health as an investment.
The WHO recognizes the private sector both as a co-investor and a solution partner in expanding access to healthcare products and services, as well as building local capacities.5 Most countries have mixed (public and private) health systems. It is estimated that the private sector provides over 60% of health services in some countries.6 It is clear that private providers of health-related services, companies developing medical devices, diagnostics, medicines, vaccines and other medical products, firms involved in digital and information technologies, health insurance companies, and logistics and supply chain providers are playing a large and growing role in contributing to advance UHC by reaching many millions of people and communities globally every day.
Businesses play a critical role in developing new technologies, products, and services that can help to address sustainable development challenges. Many businesses are investing in research and development to create innovative solutions that can help to reduce environmental impacts, increase energy efficiency, and promote social and economic development. When it comes to UHC and primary health care (PHC), we know we need more innovation to manage ongoing health challenges as well as future health crises, and we need the benefits of innovation to reach people wherever they live.
Beyond developing new and innovative products, the companies in the health field contribute techniques and insights to UHC through innovative approaches and collaborations with governments and other stakeholders to improve access to care.
To further build and boost the private sector’s existing contributions to UHC, the UHC2030 Private Sector Constituency in 2023 renews its commitments to:
- Incorporate UHC principles, including to leave no one behind, into our business
- Deliver innovations that respond to the needs of all people, including underserved populations, and make these affordable, accessible, and sustainable
- Help strengthen the health workforce, responding to local context, priorities, and needs
- Contribute to supporting efforts to raise the finance available for UHC
- Champion and engage in multistakeholder policy dialogues that advance UHC.
To create the right conditions for the private sector to help achieve the UHC targets, governments and other stakeholders should join hands and provide:
- Political Leadership: Political leadership is crucial for establishing government willingness to work in partnership with the private sector to achieve UHC
- Robust regulatory and legal system: Governments need to promote an environment that fosters innovation, entrepreneurship, and fair competition
- Knowledge and evidence: Governments should support and invest in local and national research systems for analysis and evaluation programs, policies, and innovations
- Ethics and business integrity: All stakeholders in health systems should partner in the adoption and implementation of ethical standards, building collective capacity and sharing best practices.
We look forward to continuing working together towards a successful implementation of the UHC2030 Action Agenda and to contribute to multistakeholder dialogue including in the lead up to the upcoming second High-Level Meeting on UHC.
Category: Private sector