Action by different thematic sectors beyond the health sector - such as education, infrastructure, agriculture, finance and energy - on the health determinants is well recognized as being fundamental to health progress.

Yet such multisectoral action has often proved challenging in practice, with health plans, policies and programming mostly focused on healthcare services. 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a renewed impetus for countries to implement multisectoral (or intersectoral) action to address complex problems, including reaching the ambitious health targets under SDG 3. SDG 3 also includes the specific target under 3.8 for countries to achieve universal health coverage (UHC).

The bulk of the responsibility for achieving UHC lies with the health sector in countries, stewarded by Ministries of Health. Yet multisectoral action is also required to achieve UHC, with the health sector and Ministries of Health having the following key responsibilities:

  1. Ensuring/securing the provision of critical physical and human resources essential to the functioning of health facilities and services from other sectors (for example water and sanitation services, energy, roads, education to train health workers) 
  2. Ensuring alignment of overarching health governance mechanisms (for example Health in All Policies), public health programmes and policies of other sectors to address key health determinants and immediate threats (for example in epidemic outbreaks, or regulating goods that are harmful to health)
  3. Monitoring the health system and health outcome impacts of interventions that are the core business of other sectors

Despite its importance, multisectoral action has often received low levels of attention in current efforts towards UHC. In the context of the SDGs, greater support for countries to implement multisectoral action for health is therefore required, including placing the role of the health sector in such action as a core part of the UHC agenda. Existing efforts on this theme, for example around the ‘Health in All Policies’ approach and on the political economy of multisectoral action for health, can be drawn upon to support countries in doing so. 

Objectives

The purpose of the UHC2030 Multisectoral Action Technical Working Group is to:

  • Draw attention to the importance of the health sector taking steps to build capacity for multisectoral efforts for health as part of UHC
  • Convene partners to leverage their resources to support country capacity and efforts on this theme, including in country plans for UHC
  • Link to efforts in other global partnerships on multisectoral health work e.g. Every Woman Every Child; practice communities (for example Health in All Policies; Global Coordinating Mechanism for Non-Communicable Diseases)

The working group will not provide direct technical assistance and will also not be a funding mechanism, in keeping with the mandate of UHC2030. The working group will commission high level policy briefs to discuss and synthesize knowledge on the topic. The working group will be supported by the UHC2030 secretariat, working virtually with a face-to-face annual meeting and other  meetings opportunistically). 

Multisectoral action technical working group workplan

Participant list

Maureen Samms-Vaughan Professor, University of the West Indies Jamaica
Jeanette Vega Director, FONASA Chile
Riku Elovainio OECD France
Andrea Feigl OECD France
Gail Andrews MoH South Africa South Africa
Jeremias Paul, Jnr WHO Philippines
Shehla Zaidi Aga Khan University Pakistan
Charles Mwansambo Ministry of Health Malawi
Don Matheson Consultant Australia
Kirk  Emerson Professor, University of Arizona USA
Vincent Atkins Caricom Barbados
Sara Bennett Professor, Johns Hopkins University USA
Justin  Koonin ACON Australia
Sheila Dutta World Bank USA
Orielle Solar FLACSO Chile
Abdalla Osman Director-General, Public Health Institute Sudan
Carmel Williams Government of South Australia Australia
Taavi Lai WHO Ukraine Ukraine
Nanoot Mathurapote NHCO Thailand
Maureen  van Dijk MoH Suriname
Robert Beschel World Bank USA
Crusivia Hichikumba Cabinet Office Zambia
Louise St-Pierre MoHSS, Quebec Canada
Nicole Valentine WHO Switzerland
Patricio Marquez World Bank USA
Kumanan Rasanathan UNICEF USA
Alyssa  Sharkey  UNICEF USA
Hipgrave David UNICEF USA
Giang Kim Bao Hanoi Medical University Vietnam

Documentation 

Technical Working Group Workplan

Meetings and notes

January 2018 

December 2017: UHC Forum side event on multisectoral action concept note

Presentations at event:

1. Overview of multisectoral action working group

2. Overview of multisectoral action

3. Learning from tobacco taxation 

For further information please contact: 

Nicole Valentine, WHO valentinen@who.int; or 

Patricio Marquez, World Bank pmarquez@worldbank.org;

David  Hipgrave, UNICEF dhipgrave@unicef.org