January – June 2022 Update

In the first half of 2022, as many countries pivoted to COVID-19 recovery from emergency response measures, civil society and community advocates in the UHC movement continued to draw attention to the needs of marginalized and vulnerable populations, raise the importance of sustained investments in health systems, and contribute to UHC accountability mechanisms. CSEM has supported implementation-level insights to reach regional and global fora through the Advisory Group’s participation in speaking events and publications; active partnership within civil society coalitions, especially on the Global Fund replenishment and pandemic preparedness; leadership in the C7, C20 and Platform for ACT-A Civil Society and Community Representatives; and joint advocacy work with other UHC2030 constituencies.

A few highlights are presented below. To join CSEM and stay updated on ongoing activities, please visit www.csemonline.net.

Building Accountability for UHC: 2022 State of UHC Commitment Review

Civil society and communities are active participants in the 2022 State of the UHC Commitment Review from its initial stages of developing scope and design to the phases of data collection and analysis. Inputs are currently being collected through the non-state actor survey, which has been shared through CSEM members and partners, and country consultations. In its first phase until July 2022, CSEM and its partners hosted consultations with civil society and community representatives in 15 countries. Additional countries are expected in the following months. The priority countries are those participating in the voluntary national review (VNR) process in 2022 with partner interest: Argentina, Cameroon, Mali, Senegal, Botswana, Ghana, Liberia, Dominica, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Malawi, Singapore, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Switzerland, Uruguay and Italy. A detailed methodology and summary of 2021 results were presented at the UHC2030-led VNR workshop on SDG3 on April 27.

Global partners coordinating the country consultations include APCASO, UNAIDS, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), NCD Alliance, United for Global Mental Health (UnitedGMH), Stop TB Partnership, Réseau Accès aux Médicaments Essentiels (RAME), and the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH). A number of country partners leading their respective consultations are ensuring a broad and diverse mix of voices in the consultations.

In the meantime, the global synthesis report of the 2021 civil society country consultations, “From Commitments to Action: Civil Society Perspectives on Reaching Universal Health Coverage” continues to be shared and used for civil society-led advocacy. CSEM’s implementing partner in the Asia Pacific region, APCASO, developed regional and country-level summary reports, which were translated into local languages with support from CSEM.

Connecting Advocates and Building Momentum for 2023: UHC Advocacy Workshops

The CSEM with its partners continued to lead advocacy workshops to mobilize civil society and community advocates to join the global movement for UHC and explore the Health for All Advocacy Toolkit. Invitations were specifically shared with civil society and community advocates from a broad range of health and development spaces. Our concerted and amplified efforts are needed for the UHC agenda to strengthen and sustain commitments ahead of the UN High-Level Meeting on UHC in 2023.

In March, the Global Health Council (GHC) with support from CSEM held a workshop using the Toolkit during the CSO Summit: Elevating Civil Society and Community Voices in Global Health. Organizations who participated became eligible to submit a proposal to GHC’s Advocacy in Motion (AIM) Grants to support CSO advocacy and health equity, and to amplify the voices of local and regional organizations.

A regional workshop in Latin America and the Caribbean was held on 25 April in Spanish, with simultaneous interpretation to English, with the leadership of Advisory Group members in the region. CSEM and Impact Santé Afrique also co-hosted a workshop for Francophone Africa on 8 June in French, with simultaneous interpretation to English. Both workshops included presentations on the UHC landscape in the respective region, a walkthrough of the toolkit, and workshop sessions on one or two advocacy tools. Recordings will soon be available on the CSEM website. CSEM encourages its members to use the toolkit and related materials such as an introductory presentation and worksheet to conduct their own trainings and workshops.

Partnering for UHC: Multistakeholder and Coalition Advocacy

On the sidelines of the World Health Assembly, CSEM hosted a virtual event on "Accelerating progress toward health for all in pandemic preparedness" on 1 June to mobilize civil society around a common advocacy agenda in the pandemic preparedness and response discussion and discuss the need for health systems strengthening for global health security and UHC. Speakers included Richard Gregory (WHO), Elimase Kamanga (USAID ONSE), Harjyot Khosa (International Planned Parenthood Ferderation) and Thomas Schwarz (Medicus Mundi International Network). The event was moderated by Kiki Kalkstein (Global Health Council) and had nearly 50 attendees. CSEM continues to engage in the dialogue around health emergency preparedness, response and recovery through various global and regional coalitions, supporting foundational investments in health systems and strong civil society engagement in decision-making.

CSEM raised the importance of strengthening health systems to deliver UHC and achieving equitable progress around International Women’s Day, World TB Day, World Health Day, the World Health Assembly and World Health Worker Week as well as around the Intergovernmental Negotiation Body (INB) public hearings on a new pandemic preparedness instrument and the United Nations General Assembly special session on vaccine equity. On an ongoing basis, CSEM Advisory Group members contribute to the C7 and C20 discussions on global health, and present core issues about UHC within advocacy for the Global Fund replenishment.

The civil society constituency also continues to play a role in the coalition work around civil society engagement with the WHO and strengthening social participation for health. In addition, CSEM contributed to the SDG3 GAP civil society and community engagement accelerator, the NCD Alliance’s Accelerator Programme and the UN System Staff College’s learning program for UNAIDS Country Directors. Aligned with our core value of achieving health equity, CSEM endorsed the new Health Data Governance principles developed by Transform Health, which brings a human rights and equity lens to the issue of health data governance.

Finally, CSEM continues to encourage and support civil society engagement in the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator by serving as a focal point for civil society and community representatives on the Health Systems and Response Connector (HSRC). The representatives contributed to pillar dialogues with valuable insights from civil society colleagues working at the implementation level, provided feedback on discussions such as WHO’s consultation paper on strengthening the global architecture for health emergencies, and contributed to joint public statements by the Platform for Civil Society and Community Representatives to the ACT-A.

Looking Ahead

CSEM is gearing up for a busy and crucial second half of the year. We will be working in partnership to ensure the momentum for health systems strengthening is not lost among competing priorities as countries shift away from the COVID-19 response, elevating civil society voices at the United Nations General Assembly in September and the World Health Summit in October, bringing the country consultations to more countries and more partners, and of course preparing for the next UHC Day!

For more information, contact: Carthi Mannikarottu (carthi.csem@gmail.com)

"To make real, consistent and sustainable progress towards UHC, the global community needs to consider stronger investments in civil society and communities’ work on policy change, resource mobilisation and accountability." 

Rosemary Mburu, Waci Health

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