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Universal Health Coverage on the Global Agenda in 2019: the Key role of CSOs

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The 2019 World Bank Spring Meetings, as always, featured stimulating, constructive, and, sometimes avantgarde discussions and conversations. One of such productive sessions was a lunch meeting organized by the World Bank Group Health Nutrition and Population Global Practice in partnership with the Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030 (CSEM).
Titled #HealthForAll on the Global Agenda in 2019: Building High-Level Political Support for Universal Health Coverage, and emphasizing collective over individual, the focus of the session was to bring together stakeholders from civil society to organize and mobilize as a constituency, advocating to ensure that Universal Health Coverage (UHC) policies are inclusive and equitable, and that systematic attention is given to the most marginalized and vulnerable populations so that no one is left behind.

The conversation centered around two key global moments: the upcoming G20 Finance Ministers meeting and the G20 Leaders’ Summit in June 2019 in Japan which will focus on financing UHC; as well as the UNGA High-Level Meeting on UHC in New York in September with the theme UHC: Moving Together to Build a Healthier World.
Over 50 representatives from civil society organizations (CSOs) and other key stakeholders participated in the WBG-CSEM lunch meeting, brainstorming how best CSOs can collectively make the most of the upcoming high-level opportunities.
The World Bank will be releasing a G20 UHC Financing Report for discussion at both the G20 Finance Ministers meeting and the joint meeting of Finance and Health ministers on the eve of the G20 Leaders’ Summit both in June. The report will lay out the role of health financing systems in driving sustainable and equitable economic growth and accelerating global progress towards UHC. CSO participants discussed how best the report could possibly be used for advocacy including through Civil Society 20 (C20), the official engagement group of the G20 which provides a specific space for CSOs from around the world to contribute in a structured manner to the G20.
For the UHC High-Level meeting in September, participants discussed how to effectively advocate for pathways to achieving the UHC Key Asks, build political support for financing UHC among Finance and Health Ministers, and keep an engaged grassroots momentum at country-level. Participants concluded it will be important to:

  1. Ensure there is clear understanding of the meaning of UHC (all people and communities have access to the full spectrum of essential, quality health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care) which is grounded on “access to quality and affordable healthcare.”
  2. Engage actively with CSEM, including being part of preparatory activities leading up to the April 29th UN high-level interactive multi-stakeholder hearing taking place at the UN Headquarters in New York.
  3. Use key UHC2030 resources – see Action Agenda here – as advocacy tools to influence UHC policy design and implementation.


Enó Isong

Global health and international development communications strategist

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