Universal health coverage, an essential foundation for effective pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery of health systems
A statement from UHC2030's co-chairs ahead of the...
9 November 2020
OECD/DAC High-Level Meeting on 9-10 November 2020.
A call from UHC2030’s co-chairs: help countries to build health systems that protect everyone
Today we call on members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) to remember their universal health coverage commitment and take collective action to prioritize support for health systems, especially the core health systems functions, known as “common goods for health”, that are essential to protect everyone and promote health and wellbeing. We ask specifically that they:
Invest more official development assistance in health
Invest better with greater support for health systems in line with countries’ plans and needs
Improve tracking and reporting of official development assistance (ODA) that goes for health
systems strengthening and emergency preparedness.
As the world’s major providers of development co-operation consider priority actions to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have a simple and urgent message for them: Help countries to build health systems that protect everyone.
To respond to the COVID-19 crisis and build a safer and healthier future, leaders must urgently invest in health systems that protect everyone and make universal health coverage (UHC) a reality. Everyone, everywhere should have access to quality and affordable health services, including to protect them from pandemics. As the UN Secretary General said last month in a policy brief on COVID-19 and UHC, “COVID- 19 has shown that universal health coverage, strong public health systems and emergency preparedness are essential to communities, to economies, to everyone.”
Throughout this crisis, we have called on leaders to remember the UHC commitments made in the Sustainable Development Goals and at the UN High-level Meeting “Universal Health Coverage: Moving Together to Build a Healthier World” in September 2019.
Today we call on OECD/DAC members to take collective action to prioritize support for health systems, especially the core health systems functions, known as “common goods for health”, that are essential to protect everyone and promote health and wellbeing and include core capacities to detect, assess and report public health events in line with the International Health Regulations.
Specifically, we call on them to remember their UHC Political Declaration commitment to provide adequate, predictable, evidence-based and sustainable finances, while improving their effectiveness, to support national efforts in achieving universal health coverage, in accordance with national contexts and priorities. We ask that they:
➢ Invest more. COVID-19 highlights pre-existing needs to increase investment in health, especially domestic public financing (including social insurance contributions where relevant), and reduce reliance on impoverishing out of pocket payments. For low income countries, official development assistance still has a critical role in supporting national efforts to achieve UHC.
➢ Invest better. Only 10 percent of aid for health is used to strengthen health systems, and it is often provided to countries in fragmented ways. Less than 10 percent of aid for health targets health security, and mostly for crisis response rather than preparedness investments. Collective action to increase support for health systems, including for participatory governance reforms and paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and to the health workforce, is crucial. Financial and technical assistance must also be coherent and aligned to countries’ plans and needs. OECD/DAC members should promote this in both their bilateral support and through global health funds and the new Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.
➢ Improve tracking and reporting. Current global ODA reporting processes make it difficult to track how much support goes to health systems strengthening and emergency preparedness. Better understanding of these allocations and flows will help to improve planning and predictability of funding and support national and international accountability for impact.
COVID-19 reinforces that health is everyone’s business. Countries must come together, with the international community, to ensure coherent action. As co-chairs of the diverse and lively multi- stakeholder movement for UHC (including all spheres of governments, parliamentarians, civil society, private sector, international agencies, global health networks and academia), we welcome the leadership of the OECD Development Assistance Committee in accelerating progress towards a safer, healthier and greener world, and demonstrating continued solidarity including through the commitment to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of ODA/GNI.
Professor llona Kickbusch, Chair, International Advisory Board, Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies Geneva
Dr Githinji Gitahi, Global CEO and Director General of AMREF Health Africa Group
UHC Movement Political Advisory Panel
Ms. Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of the United Cities and Local Governments
Ms. Gabriela Cuevas Barron, Former President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union
Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Board Member of The Elders
Prof. Keizo Takemi, Member of the House of Councillors, Japan
Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly
Dr. Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, Former European Commissioner
UHC2030 is the only multi-stakeholder platform which brings together diverse voices and perspectives for the common goal of achieving universal health coverage (UHC), sustains momentum around UHC commitments, and promotes collective action.
Photo: @WHO / Blink Media – Saiyna Bashir
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