Civil Society Perspectives on Reaching Universal Health Coverage

Dec 9, 2021

On 12 December 2012, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously endorsed a resolution on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), urging countries to accelerate the transition to universal access to quality and affordable health services for all. Governments reaffirmed their commitments to achieving UHC at the UN High-Level Meeting (UN HLM) in September 2019 through a Political Declaration on UHC. In the lead-up to this critical moment, UHC champions and advocates from across sectors around the world mobilized high-level political attention and developed the Key Asks from the UHC Movement, a set of core requests for leaders to take action on UHC.

To monitor progress on these commitments, UHC2030 publishes the State of Commitment to UHC review that provides a multi-stakeholder view of the status of UHC. It includes country data profiles that present a snapshot of the key commitment areas in the 2019 Political Declaration on UHC and a global synthesis report with inputs from a range of stakeholders, including civil society. The review is an important tool to support accountability processes within and across countries.

From Commitments to Action: Civil Society Perspectives on Reaching Universal Health Coverage summarizes results from 19 focus groups conducted alongside this multi-stakeholder review process. They were planned and led by the Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030 (CSEM) with APCASO, Global Health Council, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Living Goods, NCD Alliance, People’s Health Movement, UNAIDS, and country partners.

The focus group conversations highlighted important issues that governments and other decision-makers should address to ensure UHC policies are inclusive and equitable. Participants were mostly representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs) and networks, or communities often left behind. Their understanding of the progress made in each commitment area complements the multi-stakeholder review process with stories of lived experience, ground-level insights on the gaps in policy and practice, and recommendations for the road ahead.

We hope these reflections and recommendations from civil society serve as signposts on the road to the 2023 UN High Level Meeting on UHC, the next global opportunity to convene all stakeholders and recommit to achieving health for all.

Download Civil Society Perspectives and see a two-page summary of key findings below!

Focus groups were held in: Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Colombia, Egypt, Georgia, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lao PDR, Mexico, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, United States (US), Vietnam. A separate focus group included participants from seven countries in the Caribbean region: Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Haiti, St. Vincent & the Grenadines.


On 15 December, a civil society-led event marking UHC Day 2021 shared key findings from this summary report and the 2021 State of the UHC Commitment review. Speakers included civil society and community advocates who participated in and co-organized the focus groups. See the recording.