Member Spotlight: The Access Challenge

September 03, 2019

Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti receiving the UHC Innovative Partnership Award from the Access Chalelnge on behalf of The Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN) at UHC Conference 2018. Photo credit: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

Not Your Typical Health Conference

What happens when a Mayor, a Sustainable Energy Specialist, the Country Director of a Pharmaceutical Company, a WHO Director, a Second Lady, and an International Investment Director step into a panel room?

The second annual One by One: Target 2030 Conference is on September 23 following the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the Climate Action Summit. Its host, The Access Challenge, is inviting world leaders from across the health and environmental sectors to discuss “Achieving UHC: A Sustainable Future for Africa”. It is designed catalyze conversations on how best to translate the dual calls of Africa Agenda 2063 and SDG 2030 into UHC in Africa.

One by One Conference 2019 expands upon breakthrough discussions from last year’s conference which identified strong primary health care systems and prevention as paramount to tackling four disease areas: non-communicable diseases, maternal health, neglected tropical diseases, and child health & malaria. What is clear from last year’s panel discussion (see key takeaways from the 2018 Conference Report) is that preventative action in Africa lies at the nexus point of the environment and human behavior.

Maternal Health Panel, UHC Conference 2018, Access Challenge
Left to right: Dr. Edna Adan Ismail, H.E. Dr. Joyce Banda, Dr. Mary-Ann Etiebet, Hon. Dr. Patrick Ndimubanzi. Photo credit: The Access Challenge.

This year’s conference is not a one-off conversation, but a part of the much larger One by One: Target 2030 campaign which uses a 3 pronged approach to incite needed change for UHC:

  • mass media campaigns (See our current NCD campaign on East Africa’s Got Talent)
  • political advocacy (AU Engagement)
  • high-level conferences

These conferences are a key aspect of the campaign’s model which brings African leadership, global health voices, and complementary partners together to identify current obstacles and opportunities for achieving UHC through integrated policy and financing. This year will bring together members of the WASH, nutrition, agriculture, air, energy, and climate change communities to develop UHC policy strategies which will feed into the 2019 Conference Report and Access Challenge advocacy efforts.

Climate change and poor access to health have a disproportionate impact on Africa and African livelihoods. And while many communities in Africa are championing an integrated approach to improving access to health (think indoor air pollution and clean cooking stoves, or agriculture habits that correlate with NCD reduction), it is important that African leaders and policy reflect and encourage these innovative approaches to health.

Through the integration of various SDG activities, UHC is an entirely reachable and tangible reality for Africa. By considering gender equality, youth engagement, community health workers, environmental action, and sustainable cities and communities, the One by One conference will merge audiences and decision makers who are otherwise divided at UN General Assembly events. Sit on any one of the five panels and you will see a diverse range of stakeholders. Attend the High-Level Awards Dinner following the panels and exhibition reception and you will hear directly from African Leadership about their current advancement and commitment to UHC in their own countries.

You can register for the conference “Achieving UHC: A Sustainable Future for Africa” here. Don’t miss out on this important event.

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This post was written by Thea Klement, Communications Manager, The Access Challenge. The Access Challenge is a non-profit multi-level advocacy organization that envisions a world where the next generation of global citizens have what they deserve: equal access to opportunities and services they need to thrive. Their campaign, the One by One: Target 2030 Campaign launched with Former Tanzanian President, H.E. Jakaya Kikwete in 2018 is designed to drive the collaborative commitment of 55 African Presidents to UHC by 2030.