152nd WHO Executive Board Constituency Statement: Agenda Item 5

February 01, 2023

Agenda Item 5 Constituency Statement: Universal Health Coverage

Reorienting health systems to primary health care as a resilient foundation for universal health coverage and preparations for a high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on universal health coverage.

For this constituency statement, Global Health Council is joined by: Taskforce for Global Health, IntraHealth International, Save the Children, Women Deliver, United Nations Foundation, Sabin Vaccine Institute, Women in Global Health, World Hepatitis Alliance, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Amref Health Africa, AVAC, WaterAid, World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists, and International Federation of Medical Students’ Association (IFMSA)

COVID-19, conflict, and the climate crisis have reversed progress toward global health and development targets, restricted human rights, particularly for women and children, and further widened inequities. After the first decline in life expectancy since World War II and the longest sustained decline in immunization in 30 years, Member States must ensure that all people can access quality health services without financial hardship. Global solidarity and cooperation are required now to live up to the principles of the Alma Alta Declaration, reach Sustainable Development Goal 3 targets, and leave no one behind.

We call on Member States to:

  • Prioritize primary healthcare as the key to resilient health systems benefitting universal health coverage and health security goals.
  • Provide a comprehensive health and nutrition benefits package that includes sexual and reproductive health services. Prioritize essential service provisions such as water, sanitation, and hygiene, particularly for vulnerable populations with the least access.
  • Prioritize health in government spending and implement comprehensive, multisectoral, gender-sensitive, and equitable health financing policies that expand quality health coverage and improve access and affordability for all.
  • Strengthen health workforces through national policies that ensure safe and dignified working environments, fair remuneration and opportunities, respect for labor rights, and competency-based training.
  • Increase support to resource-constrained countries. Meet aid commitments and ensure that external spending aligns with domestic priorities while ensuring adequate relief from international debts.
  • Champion participatory and inclusive health governance, that also addresses gender inequalities in leadership. This must include providing safe and legally mandated spaces for diverse civil society and communities to engage in decision-making, implementation, and monitoring service provision.

Lastly, we ask Member States to participate in the High-level Meeting on UHC at the highest level to demonstrate political commitment, and to support the participation of civil society in all stages of the preparations. We also encourage Member States to identify and elevate areas of convergence and common interest among the three high-level meetings on health in 2023.