In advance of the April 29 multi-stakeholder hearing for the United Nations High-Level Meeting (UN HLM) on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Global Health Council’s President and Executive Director Loyce Pace has been out and about taking part in global discussions on achieving Health for All. The hearing is part of the preparatory process for the UN HLM taking place in September, and will allow diverse stakeholders, including civil society organizations, to weigh in on what’s needed to achieve UHC. We sat down with Loyce to learn more about the importance of UHC.
What do you most look forward to about the UHC hearing next week and why?
The HLM hearings are an important opportunity for advocates to be seen and heard on key issues on the UN agenda. It really is significant to be offered space and time there, and to be seen as a critical part of the political process and agenda. My hope is that governments will be listening. The chair and other mission representatives are sure to attend various discussions and side events to understand our debates and recommendations. Also stakeholders have been invited to submit statements on various themes, in order to inform the political declaration in September. Most of all, I’m looking forward to witnessing the passion and energy from all of the people championing Health for All worldwide. In some ways, it will feel like a dress rehearsal for the main event later this year when we will converge on New York in full force!
We’re excited to see that energy in New York. How does it relate to other regional forums you’ve attended recently on UHC?
It’s been informative and encouraging to be part of recent regional events on UHC. WHO’s 2nd Africa Health Forum hosted good discussions on innovation and financing as they relate to UHC as well as the impetus of global health security as a driver for addressing these challenges. PAHO also engaged a number of regional ambassadors, ministers, and other government officials in robust dialogue at the launch of their report on universal health. Leaders there went even further to emphasize the right to health alongside social determinants as barriers or facilitators to health access and the fundamental need for primary health care resources. It’s clear countries in these regions are on board with UHC as a political priority. The outstanding question is how it gets done. That’s where advocates come in, offering a potential way forward.
So, what is best way forward for UHC advocates between now and September?
As with any campaign, we really need to maximize our influence on vital targets and decision-makers. In addition to showing up at global events in New York or Geneva to make our asks, we must mobilize at national levels and meet with government officials regarding their commitments. We have to help them understand what success looks like, not only for the HLM but for UHC as a global health objective. Let’s make sure we have strong attendance and outcomes of the meeting. But, beyond that, advocates should be as prepared as ever to hold those leaders accountable to delivering on any declaration in a way that truly advances the Health for All agenda. We have too much to lose.
We have too much to lose indeed. Advocates can join Global Health Council and other civil society organizations in the push for UHC by amplifying our collective voice. In partnership with the Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030, we will focus on the following priorities:
- Increasing public health financing and financial protection
- Leaving no one behind
- Focusing on health workers
- Engaging civil society and community in UHC implementation to ensure accountability
Read more about these priorities and add your voice to the discussions around UHC. Together we can achieve Health for All!