Civil Society’s COVID-19 Calls to Action

COVID-19 Calls to Action – English

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    The CSEM calls on members to respond and contribute to the DRAFT Civil Society Calls to Action for COVID-19. These Calls to Action were based on the Key Asks from the UHC Movement for the UN High-Level Meeting (UN HLM) on UHC, Civil Society Priority Actions for the UN HLM on UHC, and other documents. They complement UHC2030’s discussion paper, “Living with COVID-19: Time to get our act together on health emergencies and UHC” published in May 2020.

    This draft includes inputs from CSOs through the Civil Society Participation in the COVID-19 Response survey conducted in April. Around 200 individuals from 58 countries in Africa, Asia, North America, and Latin America and the Caribbean responded to the survey.

    [Download: Civil Society’s COVID-19 Calls to Action]

    For more background on how this draft was developed and on the purpose of this document, see the recording and slides from the first webinar consultation. The discussion below will be added to the inputs collected during the webinar consultation.




    Humanity & Inclusion has shared the draft of the Calls for Action with members of the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) and of the International Disability Alliance (IDA) to collect the inputs of civil society organizations working on disability rights globally.

    We applaud CSEM for including a disability lens in the Calls for action. We would like to share some additional inputs to the Calls for Action and, to make things easier, I have transferred the content of the Calls for Action to a word document and included in red and capital letters the inputs of the IDA and IDDC members. I hope this works for you. I have also shared the same inputs via email in July after attending the webinar

    Thank you and please let me know if we can further support this action.


    Thank you very much for sharing this, Alessandra! We are grateful for this feedback from IDDC and IDA members as well as the effort you took in collecting these.


    For others who may be unable to download the attachment, these inputs shared here include:

    • Inclusion of the long-term consideration of COVID-19, both physical consequences and economic.
    • Information and health promotion shared in accessible formats with captions
    • Ensuring needs of persons with disabilities are met during the COVID-19-related restrictions/lockdowns
    • Increasing public health financing through both domestic financing and external aid
    • Specific focus on community health workers within the call to focus on health workers
    • Training and resources for health workers to address stigma and biases
    • Conducting a barrier analysis by governments to better identify specific attitudes, environments and institutions that serve as barriers to accessing health services
    Silvia Ferazzi

    Dear Carthi, Eliana and CSEM members, Medicines for Malaria Venture would like to submit its comment to the CSEM’s Civil Society’s COVID-19 Calls to Action. MMV is a non-for-profit partnership committed to developing new, affordable and effective antimalarial medicines for the at-risk populations, especially children and pregnant women, and to promoting equitable access to these antimalarials. As part of our work, we are supporting the response to the COVID-19 pandemic by safeguarding access to antimalarials for the populations affected by malaria, as well as providing assets and expertise to help lessen the impact of COVID-19 though collaborations in assays development, modelling and simulations and by contributing to the collection of data. We fully endorse the CSEM’s Calls to Action and it four areas of focus, which are all crucial for an effective civil society’s response to the pandemic. We would like to make some suggestions to strengthen the focuses 1 (Leave No One Behind) and 3 (Focus on Health Workers). Focus 1 could be more explicit in also referring to the importance of ensuring access to innovative health technologies (diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines), in addition to health services, by under-served populations. We need to make sure that the several new health tools in development do not neglect testing for safety and efficacy for the most vulnerable groups, including the elderly, children and pregnant women. Focus 3 could also refer more explicitly to the need to ensure access to innovative health tools by health workers, as a matter of priority. Only if health workers remain healthy thanks to access to appropriate diagnostics, medicines and, potentially, vaccines, they can continue to be on the frontline in the fight against the pandemic and effectively protect the health of patients. In addition, reference could be made to the gender dimension of the focus on health workers, as most frontline health professionals are women. For easier reference and if useful, we have made these proposed changes in the attachment.We remain committed to sharing the CTA in our advocacy networks and we look forward to the continuation of this important dialogue.


    Thank you, Silvia and the MMV team, for these salient comments. Noting the importance of adding equitable access to new tools and technologies in addition to health services, the additional and essential focus on gender-sensitive approaches when discussing health workers, and the need to prioritize health worker access to new effective medicines/vaccines.


    Hi everyone, we at Special Olympics have just a few things we would add.

    – At the bottom of page one, in the “in the medium and long term” sentence, we would suggest calling out people with disabilities among the marginalized and vulnerable populations
    – In the Leave No One Behind section, perhaps bolder language around deinstitutionalization and community-based care, given the dynamics of COVID-19 in congregate settings
    – On page two, in the 3. Focus on Health Workers, “briefing health workers on their rights, roles, responsibilities, and risks” seems very generic and so suggest being more specific–perhaps mention expanded bias training, for example

    Thank you for the opportunity to weigh in.

    Rabia Abeid

    Dear Carthi, and CSEM members.

    Greetings from our team,
    We at SHDEPHA+ Kahama had an opportunity to review and input the DRAFT Civil Society Calls to Action for COVID-19. The attached document below contains the review feedback in track change.

    I hope that our inputs will be helpful to input the document. Thank you.



    Thank you, Rabia and the SHDEPHA+ Kahama team. These comments are well-received.

    Noting in particular: (1) the specific addition of vulnerable populations including PWID/PWUDs, artisanal small miners, fisheries and those with existing medical conditions including NCDs; (2) call to prioritize frontline health workers, including the availability of training and appropriate diagnostic and treatment tools as well as guaranteed remuneration; (3) preparing for other infectious diseases by building better systems with rigorous monitoring, strengthened community-led communications and contact tracing.

    Sono Aibe

    Dear Carthi, I was wondering if we could add mention of “reproductive health supplies” after “lifesaving treatments” in the sentence
    “Lastly, civil society must demand that all stakeholders, such as the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, act responsibly and guarantee the access of lifesaving treatments for all.” The word “treatments” didn’t seem inclusive enough of things like female condoms and emergency contraception (UN Commission’s Life-Saving Commodities items). I have long been a member of the RH Supplies Coalition and EWEC through my previous positions, and have also participated in previous CSEM activities leading up to the documents for Astana. Thanks for considering.

    Akaninyene Obot

    I believe COVID0-19 calls to action should really focus on the Primary Health Centre which is the first point of healthcare visit for the people mostly in the rural communities where much is needed in order to build a resilience against future disease pandemic.

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