12 April 2022

A statement from UHC2030's co-chairs

Public hearing on a new instrument to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response
  1. To ensure the new pandemic instrument is based on solidarity, equity and protecting health for all, we call on WHO Member States to include universal health coverage (UHC) linked to essential public health functions as an essential component.
  2. Health security and UHC are crucially inter-linked. UHC plays an important role in prevention, preparedness and response to crises. Strengthening health systems foundations and resilience, based on primary health care, is the basis for both UHC and health security. These foundations underpin health service delivery, essential public health functions and emergency risk management, while empowering civil society and communities.
  3. The pandemic instrument should acknowledge that: i) pandemics harm progress towards UHC, especially as they affect the most vulnerable and disrupt other essential health services; ii)  UHC principles are crucial for a successful response to health crises, for example to ensure access to vaccines and treatments and remove financial barriers and disincentives to seeking care; and iii) UHC should include a full spectrum of public health services and functions, including prevention and promotion, such as surveillance and testing for infectious diseases and services to promote good health and prevent and manage “underlying” health conditions.
  4. We have proposed specific ways to address these issues in a policy brief, Why and how to reflect universal health coverage in the pandemic treaty, that includes a check-list for treaty negotiators to refer to. Building on existing commitments, key elements to emphasise during the negotiations include:
  • Adequate public financing for health, with a special emphasis on primary health care.
  • Core minimum requirements for national health systems capacities, including public health functions.
  • Reaching and protecting the most vulnerable groups in society, and enhancing gender equality and empowering women and girls.
  • Ensuring adequate numbers and distribution of well-trained, well-equipped and well-paid health workers.
  • Social participation  for inclusion of civil society and communities in decision-making, implementation and accountability including in development of the pandemic instrument – so that voices are heard and actions respond to people’s needs. This will also help build trust in public health measures for preparedness and response.
  • Transparency and accountability to ensure implementation and compliance.

For specific proposals, please read: How and why to reflect universal health coverage in the pandemic treaty (especially p9: A CHECKLIST FOR DECISION-MAKERS)

This message is issued by UHC2030 Co-Chairs.

Co-Chair of Steering Committee, UHC2030:

  • Ms. Gabriela Cuevas Barron
  • Dr. Justin Koonin

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