Leveraging universal health coverage is essential for addressing...
Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of WHO, has formally announced the establishment of the International Health Partnership for UHC 2030 at a high-level meeting on 22 September during the 71st UNGA in New York.
This health system platform enlarges the IHP+ scope and purpose to strengthen coordination, advocacy and accountability at the global and country levels and is an exciting moment for progress towards UHC.
The UNGA high-level meeting called ‘Acting with Ambition: Accelerating progress toward UHC by 2030’ was held to sustain and grow political momentum for UHC. Fellow global health leaders including Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland and the Ministers of Health of Thailand, South Africa, Kenya and Chile underscored that all countries can and must translate the historic UHC commitments of the past year into meaningful change for the world’s poorest and most marginalised people.
UHC: a movement gathering pace
UHC is a fundamental political issue and requires courageous leadership. This was a key message to emerge from the meeting; the global movement for achieving UHC gathered great pace as health leaders spoke about its significance and power to change the health situation of the worlds’ poorest people and be an equaliser among the rich and poor.
Margaret Chan said, “UHC has relevance in rich and poor countries alike, wherever populations are underserved or impoverished by the costs of care. The ethical imperative is compelling. People should not be denied access to life-saving or health-promoting interventions for unfair reasons, including those with economic or social causes.” Speaking to countries, she added, “WHO is proud to stand or walk beside you on this road to UHC.”
Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation made a strong commitment to take the UHC movement further and increase accountability to ensure continuous action to achieve UHC by 2030. She said, “This is a unique opportunity to realise health rights for everyone in the world.”
Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, former WHO Director-General and Prime Minister of Norway and Deputy Chair of the Elders said, “My fellow Elders and I believe Universal Health Coverage will improve lives, protect human rights and empower women and girls. It represents the best way to achieve the wider health Sustainable Development Goal.”
This sense of commitment and energy was reinforced by other keynote speakers. Dr Motsoaledi, Minister of Health from South Africa spoke about the value of partnership to mobilise support for UHC, and Professor Sakolsatayadorn, Minister of Public Health in Thailand encouraged every country to aim to achieve UCH and health for all. Ministers of Health from Kenya, Chile and Japan all shared lessons on how to sustain political commitment to UHC.
At the event, discussions about how to implement this amibitious agenda included the role of government, the role of the private sector and the role of civil society. Speakers from Indonesia’s Ministry of Health, Oxfam International and the World Economic Forum shared their own experience in translating UHC commitments into benefits for communities.
Michael Myers from the Rockefeller Foundation who chaired the meeting has subsequently written about the meeting in a blog, stating, “While nobody knows what challenges the world will face in years to come, we do know this: investments in strong, equitable health systems will help us overcome those challenges and make communities more resilient and more inclusive… To achieve the bold goal of health for all and all the powerful benefits it brings, we must find new ways to stay ambitious and drive action.”
With the new International Health Partnership for UHC 2030 now underway, all our partners – old, new and future – are committed to strive for progress towards UHC, the most ambitious health agenda of our times.
Read about the event on Twitter.
Watch Margaret Chan deliver her speech here.
Watch a video of the whole event on UHC Day’s Facebook page.
Note: The event was hosted by the government of Thailand, South Africa, Japan, Chile, Kenya, Indonesia and the Rockefeller Foundation, the International Health Partnership for UHC 2030 and the UHC Coalition.