On the margins of the 3rd Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA), the CSEM with The Youth Platform, CITAM Plus and WACI Health, organized and in-person discussion with decision makers, regional actors, civil society and other stakeholders  entitled From Commitment to Implementation: Accelerating Progress on Universal Health Coverage in Africa. The event took place on Monday 27 November 2023 – 10:00-11:30 AM CAT in Lusaka, Zambia.


The Conference on Public Health in Africa came at a critical moment in the road towards achieving universal health coverage (UHC) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Universal health coverage means that everyone, everywhere can access inclusive, quality health services without financial hardship. According to the 2023 Global Monitoring Report published by the WHO and the World Bank biannually, progress on UHC has stalled and reversed in some countries.

The year 2023 provides a unique opportunity for governments and other stakeholders to begin to take necessary steps to accelerate progress on UHC. At the United Nations High-level Meeting (HLM) on UHC in September 2023 world leaders renewed their commitment to accelerate progress towards achieving UHC and the SDGs by 2030. But questions remain on what steps governments will take to translate commitments into concrete actions that expand coverage and ensure equity. Continuing with business as usual is not an option.

From decision makers to affected communities, everyone has a role to play in addressing the gaps in access to health services. This side session will bring together stakeholders from across the continent for thought provoking discussions on how they will work together to translate HLM commitments into concrete actions at the country level to increase access to essential health services and protection of vulnerable populations. The session highlights opportunities for stakeholders to engage and mobilize political momentum on UHC, including the upcoming UHC Day on 12 December 2023. 


The Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030 in collaboration with The Youth Platform , the Community Initiative For TB, HIV/AIDS & Malaria (CITAM+) and WACI Health are organizing this session to bring together stakeholders to exchange ideas on the way forward for implementing the political commitments on UHC.  The session will:

  • Foster a shared understanding of the HLM commitments and explore entry points for African countries to implement them to accelerate progress on UHC and the SDGs. 
  • Discuss the role of parliamentarians to accelerate the implementation of UHC commitments.
  • Explore successful strategies and lessons learned on the continent or elsewhere that can be instructive in the region.
  • Encourage all stakeholders including regional bodies, civil society, community organizations and others to support the implementation of UHC commitments in countries.
  • Share resources and opportunities for stakeholders to advance the UHC agenda and hold their governments accountable.

Target audience: government officials, African Union and Africa CDC officials, civil society, media. 

Moderator and Speakers


  • Rosemary Mburu, Executive Director at WACI Health

Opening remarks:

  • Dr Matilda Simpungwe, Assistant Director Adolescent Health, Zambia Ministry of Health


  • Dr. Justin Koonin, President, ACON, and Co-Chair UHC 2030
  • Lucas Zulu, Policy and Planning, Zambia Ministry of Health
  • Honourable Dr. Christopher Kalila Kalila, Member of Parliament Zambia
  • Noah Elias Tegene, Principal Technical Officer, Africa CDC
  • Johnpaul Omollo, Africa Regional Lead for R&D Policy and Advocacy, PATH
  • Chilufya Hampongo, Program Officer, Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign (TALC)
  • Selam Bekele, Health Financing Expert, IGHIP