Advocacy Update: Top Things to Know This Week

December 20, 2023

Hearing of the House of Representatives Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic

On December 13, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic held a hearing regarding Reforming the WHO: Ensuring Global Health Security and Accountability to discuss the future of the WHO and the U.S. relationship with the organization. Witnesses at the hearing included Loyce Pace, Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services; Dr. Atul Gawande, Assistant Administrator for Global Health at the U.S. Agency for International Development; and Dr. John Nkengasong, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Senior Bureau Official for Global Health Security and Diplomacy at the Department of State. Witness testimonies and the full recording of the hearing can be found here.

COP28 Climate and Health Declaration unveiled

The 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) closed earlier this month after hosting the first ever Health Day and climate-health ministerial to help build consensus on priority actions for the health system’s response to climate change. On December 2, the COP28 Presidency announced the COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health to accelerate actions to protect people’s health from growing climate impacts. The declaration, signed by more than 140 countries, covers a range of action areas at the nexus of climate and health, including building more climate-resilient health systems, strengthening cross-sectoral collaboration to reduce emissions and maximize the health benefits of climate action, and increasing finance for climate and health solutions. 

UN General Assembly adopts resolution on WASH in healthcare facilities

On December 18, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on sustainable, safe and universal water, sanitation, hygiene, waste and electricity services in healthcare facilities. The co-chairs of the Group of Friends for WASH in HCFs, Hungary and the Philippines, played a key role in championing the resolution, which emphasizes the critical role these services play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and underscores current gaps. The resolution encourages Member States to integrate these services into national health plans and calls for improved international cooperation to support developing countries in this area. The resolution also highlights the need for multi-sectoral engagement, national roadmaps, financing, and regular monitoring and evaluation to ensure the provision of these essential services.

World celebrates Universal Health Coverage Day 2023

In commemoration of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day, UHC2030 released the 2023 State of UHC Commitment Review Synthesis Report, which brings a multi-stakeholder view to the question: Are countries acting on their commitments to UHC? The report notes that there was insufficient progress in service coverage and setbacks in financial protection but also shows that, since 2015, countries have made various commitments to UHC, such as prioritizing equity, recognizing the importance of UHC for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3, and ensuring healthy lives and well-being for all at all ages. Additionally, the Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030 (CSEM) held a UHC Day side event “From Commitment to Accountability: Tracking Commitments to Accelerate Progress for Universal health Coverage” to share key findings and recommendations of the State of the UHC Commitment Review. The recording of the event can be found here.