6 October 2017

New advisory group members, participation in UNGA and country consultations.

Civil Society taking action in UHC2030

It’s been a busy time for CSOs in UHC2030. The Civil Society Engagement Mechanism has selected members of the Advisory group; participated in a high-level event on universal health coverage at the UN General Assembly in New York; and organised CSO consultations in five countries to establish country-led recommendations for action in UHC2030. Plans, in the lead up the UHC Forum in Tokyo in December 2017, are also taking shape with key meetings and discussions due to take place among CSOs.  

Civil Society Engagement Mechanism welcomes new members in the Advisory Group

The Civil Society Engagement Mechanism (CSEM) represents the civil society constituency in UHC2030. The aim is to build strong CSO voices and contribute significantly to take forward the UHC2030 mandate ensuring systematic attention is paid to the needs of the most marginalised and vulnerable populations so that ‘no one is left behind’. Their objective is to influence policy design and implementation and facilitate citizen-led accountability. 

The CSEM Advisory Group has 18 members. Six members were already selected in June as CSO representatives and their alternates on the UHC2030 steering committee.  They represent southern and northern CSOs as well as community-based organisations. Please see the end of this article for the list of all members. 

The first face-to-face meeting of the CSEM advisory group will take place in Paris on 13-14 November 2017 with the aim of establishing a common vision for all partners to strengthen the role of the civil society in UHC2030. 

Dr. Santosh Kumar Giri, Secretary and Executive Director Kolkata Rista India - Community-Based Organisation representative spoke about her involvement on the UHC2030 Steering Committee. 

“As a community-based organisation I experience more funders, donors and big organisations finding it hard to accept us. In the UHC2030 steering committee, this is not the case. We share the same platform, share the same role and responsibilities. Each person has their own technical ability, but it is more about understanding the reality than about the technical aspects. If we only think in technical terms, it will be more difficult to reach our goal of achieving UHC.

As a trans person, I understand that millions of people suffer discrimination in their health systems. I know what it means when people stand in a queue and are not able to get healthcare. I’m very glad that I represent a community-based organisation on the Steering Committee.”

CSOs at high-level United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) event on UHC

CSOs were present and vocal on 18 September at the UNGA high-level meeting in New York: ‘World leaders for universal health coverage: achieving the SDGs through health for all.’  

Suzanne Ehlers CEO and President of Population Action International (PAI) spoke on behalf of the UHC2030 CSEM. She pointed to the critical role of civil society at global and country level to ensure no one is left behind, and said, “UHC2030 CSEM aims to amplify the voice of civil society to ensure inclusive and equitable health policies towards achieving UHC.”

Five country consultations to strengthen CSOs in UHC2030

Country consultations for CSO engagement in UHC2030 are taking place in five countries - Pakistan, Cameroon, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya. The consultations include engagement with local health stakeholders and also use bottom-up approaches and community participation.

The consultations aim to: 

  • Get an overview of the challenges faced in moving towards UHC, looking at health system strengthening and primary health care and identify ways to tackle these challenges from a CSO perspective
  • Identify advocacy and accountability topics for CSOs and CBOs in order to strengthen the health system as a principal means of achieving UHC 
  • Develop the role of CSOs and CBOs in the CSEM ensuring CSO vision and recommendations for health systems strengthening and UHC are taken into consideration by UHC2030 
  • Identify how UHC2030 could strengthen citizens’ voices and empower communities. 

Findings from the consultations will contribute to a set of recommendations for CSO platforms in countries to be able to influence and contribute to UHC2030 strategies and work plans. Proposals for UHC2030 to strengthen CSO voices and empower communities should also be presented. 

UHC Forum in Tokyo 2017 

The UHC Forum is jointly organized by the Government of Japan, WB, WHO, UNICEF, and UHC2030 and will take place on 12-15 December 2017.

The CSEM, together with Japanese CSOs, have proposed two side events (Leave No one Behind and social accountability). They have also contributed to the organisation of the UHC2030 public UHC Day event during which CSOs will announce the launch of the operational CSEM.

CSOs will also contribute to different high-level sessions to ensure their messages for inclusive and equitable health policies for achieving UHC will be heard.

UHC2030 Global compact

Civil society organisations are also invited to become UHC2030 partners and sign the UHC2030 global compact. Please get in touch if you are interested info@UHC2030.org 

For information

CSEM advisory group members 

• Aurelie du Chatelet, Advocacy advisor- health and nutrition, Action against Hunger – France

• Craig Burgess, Senior Technical Advisor, JSI Research and Training Institute, US

• Tomoko Fukuda, Secretariat General, Japan CSO Network on Global Health / JOICFP - Japan

• Itai Rusike, Executive Director, Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) - Zimbabwe

• Sandra Lhote-Fernandes, Health advocacy officer, Oxfam France – UK and France

• Valerie Sorgho, advocacy and communication manager, Save the Children – Burkina Faso

• Ariana Childs Grahams, Director, Primary Health Care Initiative, PAI - US

• Carolyn Reynolds, Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy, PATH's – US

• Lucien Kouakou, Director Regional Africa Office, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) – Kenya

• Johannes Trimmel, Director, Policy and Advocacy, International Agency for the prevention of Blindness – Brussels

• Laura Adams, Global Programme Advisor, Christian Aids - UK

• Marwin Maier, Manager Health & Advocacy, World Vision – Germany

In addition, the following CSEM advisory group members also act as CSO representatives and alternates on the UHC2030 steering committee 

• Simon Wright, Head of Health Policy Save the Children - UK - Northern CSO representative

• Justin Koonin, President of ACON – Australia - Northern CSO alternate

• Rosemary Mburu, Executive Director WACI Health - Kenya - Southern CSO representative

• Khuat Thi Hai Oanh Executive Director, Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives (SCDI) - Vietnam- Southern CSO Alternate

• Dr. Santosh Kumar Giri, Secretary and Executive Director Kolkata Rista India - Community-Based Organisation representative 

• Harriet Adong, Executive Director, Foundation for Integrated Rural Development (FIRD) - Uganda - Community-Based Organisation alternate

Photo: State-level consultation with trans community in India