Global collaboration could mean better primary care for people in poorer areas

Ensuring a healthy future for all - priorities to advance Universal Health Coverage

In 2019, world leaders agreed to the most comprehensive and ambitious political declaration on health in history at the inaugural United Nations High-Level Meeting (UN HLM) on Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Yet across the world people are struggling to access high-quality, patient-centric, integrated health services, when and where they need them and without incurring financial hardship. The most recent global monitoring report on UHC re-affirms that we are way off track to achieve 2023 targets.

Ahead of the Multistakeholder Hearing and High-Level Meeting on UHC in 2023, The George Institute urges governments to prioritise the following in pursuit of a healthy future for all:

  1. Identify, develop, and formalise opportunities for social participation in UHC, including governance and decision-making roles for communities and civil society across policies, programmes, and resource allocation.
  2. Prioritise the routine collection and analysis of data disaggregated by sex, gender, and other intersecting characteristics to track progress towards targets and identify and address barriers that impede women, girls and other groups experiencing marginalisation from accessing health promotion, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care.
  3. Put patients at the centre, integrating NCD prevention and care within existing health services to address multiple health conditions, including at primary care level, and prevent catastrophic out-of-pocket costs by putting health insurance programmes in place.

All UHC efforts must be underpinned by core values including a focus on equity and inclusivity, good governance, cross-sector collaboration, support and protection for healthcare workers, and attention to local context, all in a broader framework of human rights and social protection.

Spotlight: Social participation to ensure a healthy future for all

Social participation, sometimes referred to as citizen engagement or community action for health, has become an integral part of health systems strengthening since it was recognised in the Alma Ata declaration on “Health for All” in 1978. Recognition is growing that people’s voices and actions must influence how domestic resources are used to deliver quality health services for all and hold governments accountable. The need to establish platforms and partnerships to enable this was embedded in the Political Declaration of the UN HLM in 2019.

The George Institute is delighted to be involved in the project Social Participation for Health: Engagement, Research, and Empowerment (SPHERE), a partnership with the Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030, the World Health Organization, and national partners in countries including Vietnam, Kenya, and Argentina. Over a four-year period, SPHERE will document experiences of advancing social participation for health, collaborate with communities to promote and evaluate context-specific implementation approaches, and draw lessons to advance the broader UHC agenda.

Take Action

  1. Follow us on Twitter @GeorgeInstitute, @GeorgeInstUK or @GeorgeInstIN and join us to say #People4UHC #HealthForAll and amplify #UHCDay
  2. Join our #UHCDay fire-side chat with researchers and practitioners who – based on their involvement in research, advocacy, and action related to citizen engagement – will share perspectives, learnings, challenges, and the way forward for Social Participation for health (SPH) in their country contexts and deliberate on the role of SPH within the UHC discourse.
  3. Learn more about the SPHERE project.