27 March 2024

On 25 March 2024, the WHO Youth Council presented a letter to Dr. Tedros, WHO Director-General, and to Mr. Chungong, Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), urging them to mobilize parliamentarians and reinvigorate action towards UHC.

WHO Youth Council representative Kristina Almazidou shakes hands with WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros and IPU Secretary General Mr. Chungong after giving them a formal letter calling for action on health.

At the 148th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), held in Geneva on 23-17 March 2024, the WHO Youth Council presented a formal letter to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros and IPU Secretary General Mr. Chungong urging them to mobilize parliaments and reinvigorate their support to legislate for and invest in Health for All.  

Recalling the dire global situation – 4.5 billion individuals still lack access to essential health services, and 2 billion people face financial hardship in reaching those services – the letter emphasizes the urgent need to invest in universal health coverage (UHC) to protect people against financial hardship due to out-of-pocket health costs.  

The letter also highlights the connection between UHC and health security, calling attention to the fact that, although climate change is humanity’s biggest health threat, “the majority of countries have not addressed climate risks or introduced climate resiliency in their health policies and planning.” The letter was written as part of a 100-day campaign launched on UHC Day on 12 December 2023, during which youth had an opportunity to discuss UHC priorities with parliamentarians from the IPU and UNITE. 

Consistent with the Action Agenda from the UHC Movement, the letter presents six asks from the WHO Youth Council:  

  1. Champion political leadership for UHC.  
  2. Adopt enabling laws and regulations.  
  3. Invest in UHC.  
  4. Strengthen the health and care workforce.  
  5. Institutionalize social participation in decision-making.  
  6. Increase transparency and accountability.  

Ms. Kristina Almazidou, representative of the WHO Youth Council and co-chair of the Youth Council Working Group on Universal Health Coverage, presented the letter, expressing the WHO Youth Council’s commitment to ensuring access to quality essential health services for all. The WHO Youth Council serves as the voice for more than 50 million youth from 22 different youth organisations, providing advice on global health and other development issues from a youth perspective.

Watch the event below. 

Read the full letter here.  

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