Summary of the 2023 UN High-level Meeting on Universal Health...
As the INB convenes for its fourth meeting later this month to discuss the Zero Draft of the pandemic accord, we urge world leaders to grasp the opportunity to strengthen health systems and make them equitable and resilient to advance universal health coverage (UHC), which is an essential foundation for effective pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery (preambular section, para 28).
As the Zero Draft outlines, UHC can help mitigate against exacerbating existing inequities and access to services and is of key importance to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The UHC2030 multistakeholder platform advocates for both UHC and health security as two intertwined goals to protect everyone, everywhere, that we achieve through the same health system with focus on primary health care - in crisis and calm. As the COVID-19 pandemic and many other threats to health have shown, countries with strong, resilient health systems are better prepared to prevent and respond to health threats, including those with pandemic potential.
As Co-chairs of UHC2030, we urge world leaders in their negotiations of the pandemic accord:
- to emphasize that UHC and health security are two intertwined goals to protect everyone, everywhere, that we achieve through the same health system - in crisis and calm;
- to further strengthen language on resilient health systems and UHC, and the essential foundational role they play for effective pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery;
- to highlight that primary health care is the most effective and equitable approach to strengthening health systems, as it underpins health service delivery, essential public health functions and emergency risk management, while empowering civil society and communities, and promoting gender equality;
- to adopt and build on the 2019 Political Declaration on UHC (A/RES/74/2, para 9/f), where world leaders committed to “recognize the need for health systems that are strong, resilient, functional, well-governed, responsive, accountable, integrated, community-based, people-centred and capable of quality service delivery, supported by a competent health workforce, adequate health infrastructure, enabling legislative and regulatory frameworks as well as sufficient and sustainable funding“;
- to commit to meaningful representation, engagement and participation of civil society and communities, taking into account balanced gender representation; and
- to ensure alignment also with the upcoming 2023 High-level meetings on UHC, TB and pandemic prevention, preparedness and response and the three resulting Political Declarations on health.
Ahead of the fourth INB meeting, we call on Member States to ensure that the pandemic accord strengthens effective pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery of health systems. To do so, Member States must recognize that UHC, primary health care, strong health systems, and global health security are essential, interlinked prerequisites to both pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, and to achieving health for all.
-Gabriela Cuevas and Justin Koonin, Co-chairs of UHC2030 Steering Committee
In December 2021, an intergovernmental negotiating body (INB) was established by the World Health Assembly (WHA) to draft and negotiate a convention, agreement or other international instrument under the Constitution of the World Health Organization to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. Following two rounds of public hearings (in April and September 2022) and four informal, focused consultations ( in September and October 2022), a zero draft of the accord (Zero draft of the WHO CA+ for the consideration of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body at its fourth meeting WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, “WHO CA+”) will be discussed at INB4 in late February 2023. The INB has been requested to deliver a progress report to the 76th World Health Assembly in 2023 and submit its outcome for consideration by the 77th World Health Assembly in 2024.
Find more information here on why it is important to integrate UHC in the pandemic accord.