13 September 2023

On 11 September 2023, the Coalition of Partnerships for UHC and Global Health hosted a high-level webinar ahead of the SDG Summit and high-level meetings on UHC, pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, and tuberculosis.

Screenshot of webinar panelists and event title and date

This event rallied advocates to discuss how to have countries commit to ambitious, equitable, and people-centered actions. It aimed to encourage coherence, drive momentum and engage the highest level of decision-makers. 

The webinar was moderated by H.E. Ms. Maria Fernanda Espinosa, President of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly and UHC2030 Lead Political Advisor.  

Ms. Gabriela Cuevas, Co-chair of the UHC2030 Steering Committee, provided opening remarks, followed by presentations from:  

  • Ms. Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance 
  • Ms. Angeli Achrekar, Deputy Executive Director for the Program Branch, UNAIDS 
  • Dr Suvanand Sahu, Deputy Executive Director of Stop TB Partnership 

A lively question-and-answer session then followed, and Ms. Helga Fogstad, Executive Director of PMNCH, provided closing remarks.  

Please see below for a summary of key messages and a recording of the event.  

Key messages 

Gabriela Cuevas 

  • At least half of the world’s population lacks access to essential health services. Each year, more than half a billion people are pushed to extreme poverty due to out-of-pocket health expenses. This is unacceptable. 
  • To ensure that no one is left behind, we must guarantee access to quality health services for everyone, everywhere and make sure that health costs never lead to poverty. That is the true meaning of universal health coverage.  
  • At the High-Level Meetings and in the Political Declaration, we need member states to make commitments to reach all groups in society, including those most at risk of being neglected. 
  • They must address the global shortfall of 10 million health workers. They must also ensure women’s representation in health and political leadership, and, of course, full inclusion of women and girls in all health issues.   

Katie Dain 

  • These three High-Level Meetings in just over a week are a major opportunity to review concrete progress on global health priorities. This has provided a welcome impetus for the global health community, which is so often so siloed. 
  • What we need to ensure is that the words made in New York by our heads of state translate into action at the country level. The High-Level Meetings are the beginning, and not the end.  
  • After the High-Level Meetings, we’re aiming for signs of success:  
  • Expressions of sustained concern and commitment by political leaders on the issues. 
  • Accelerated action and implementation of the commitments and policies. 
  • Adequate and sustained investment and resourcing. We need to see the finances committed. 

Angeli Achrekar 

  • UHC, health security and ending the ongoing pandemics of HIV, TB, and malaria are all intersecting goals. We can't afford to pit one disease program against the other or health system strengthening efforts against disease-focused programs. 
  • Country leaders have the chance to be remembered by future generations as those who ensured the policies, programs, and investments that put a stop to the world’s deadliest pandemic.   
  • There cannot be health for all if there are societal and structural barriers to essential and critical health services against groups of people and communities, including stigma and discrimination.   

Dr Suvanand Sahu 

  • Learning from the experience of COVID, the ambition is to move faster and to be on track to reach the targets that have been set for ending TB by 2030. The UN High-Level Meetings are very timely and very critical. 
  • The real action now is at the country level because of all these commitments. We have encouraged countries to include civil society in their official delegations along with the governments.  
  • It will be a great opportunity for all of us to work together and to advocate at the country level on how to go ahead with these commitments.  

Helga Fogstad 

  • It is a great opportunity to have three High-Level health-related meetings. It is also reflective of [the fact] that we are in trouble. We cannot continue with business as usual, especially after COVID-19, amid climate change conflict, and also economic growth. 
  • Healthcare is expensive, especially if it is an afterthought. Health should not be seen as an expense but as an investment and a right.  
  • We need concrete and measurable plans with inclusive multi-stakeholder participation and adequate financing commitment.   

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