Statement of Amy Boldosser-Boesch (Senior Director, FCI Program, Management Sciences for Health), at the UN High-level Meeting on PPPR
Panel 1: Ensuring equity through governance and accountability for PPPR by utilising multi-sectoral coordination at all levels
Topic: Making PPPR equitable, inclusive and participatory
My name is Amy Boldosser-Boesch from Management Sciences for Health. I am pleased to take the floor on behalf of the Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030, our global coalition with members in more han 100 countries worldwide advocates to ensure UHC policies are inclusive and equitable, and that no one is left behind on the road to achieving UHC.
The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated significant inequities in access to essential health services and highlighted the urgent need to strengthen health systems to deliver health for all. COVID-19 and other pandemics also remind us that universal health coverage is an essential foundation for effective pandemic prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. To achieve strong health systems, first, equity must be addressed as a central element of PPPR, as highlighted by Her Excellency Minister Vizzotti and her Excellency Kitarovic. We strongly agree that “equity is too important to be voluntary”. Second, governments must prioritize primary healthcare to strengthen health systems and ensure policies are equitable and respond to the need of the people, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalized populations.
This will also strengthen PPPR by fostering trust in the health system. Indeed, WHO Director-General Tedros has called trust one of the "most important commodities in health." We heard from panelists today about misinformation and poor-quality care impacting that trust.
We therefore urge governments to:
- invest in primary healthcare, as a critical pathway for detecting and containing outbreaks at their earliest stages as well as for sustaining the delivery of essential services equitably during health emergencies. And to
- prioritize the voices of the people and communities by institutionalizing social participation to ensure that processes for pandemic planning and response are inclusive and participatory, and to strengthen governance and accountability for PPPR and health security.
We look forward to working with all stakeholders to achieve UHC and strengthen health security-two intertwined goals, through health systems strengthening, and upholding promises to truly leave no one behind and fulfill the human right to health for all.
Statement of Javier Hourcade Bellocq (Founder and Editor, The Key Correspondent Team, CSEM AG member), at the UN High-level Meeting on UHC
Panel 1: What is a primary health care approach and why does it matter?
Topic: Equity and leave no one behind
The Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030 would like to underscore the importance of primary health care in ensuring equity and leave no one behind.
Health is a fundamental right of every human being. Yet far too many people around the world – particularly the poor and marginalised and vulnerable populations – continue to face significant barriers to accessing essential health services and are being left behind.
The recently released Global Monitoring Report by the WHO and the World Bank clearly shows that progress toward increasing access to essential health services and reducing catastrophic health spending by 2023, as set in the 2019 Political Declaration on UHC, has stagnated or come to a complete halt.
To reach communities that are being left behind, we call on governments:
- To prioritise equitable health systems based on primary health care, with particular attention to the health and care workforce, including community health workers who are well-resourced, trained, and protected. This approach will increase access to essential services at the community level thereby improving health equity and accelerate progress toward UHC.
- To develop and implement comprehensive, equitable health financing policies that reach the most vulnerable communities. Health financing policies should both expand quality health coverage and improve affordability for vulnerable groups.
- To remove out-of-pocket payments such as user fees and providing nutrition, rehabilitation, palliative care, assistive devices and more for vulnerable populations.
Statement of Devaki Nambiar (Program Director, Healthier Societies Strategy at the George Institute for Global Health India), at the UN High-level Meeting on UHC
Panel 1: What is a primary health care approach and why does it matter?
Topic: Social participation and community engagement for a people centred health approach
HENNET is a network of locally rooted CSOs in Kenya and member of the Consortium for Social Participation for Health and together we bring a diversity of civil society voices to this chamber.
Primary health care is the most effective, inclusive and equitable way to strengthen health systems to achieve UHC.
And one of the three pillars of PHC is the empowerment and engagement of communities. This is essential in developing responsive and equitable policies and programs to realise the right to health for all.
Yet in some contexts, we see the space for community engagement and social participation shrinking.
HENNET and SPHERE recommend a few practical ways for governments to foster meaningful community engagement and social participation for PHC.
First, we urge all Member States to institutionalise mechanisms for civil society and community members to participate meaningfully in health policy making, implementation, and governance and accountability processes. In particular, governments should prioritise the engagement of vulnerable and marginalised populations who are facing significant barriers to accessing essential health services.
- We call on governments to prioritise social participation by removing barriers, including legal barriers, that prevent some populations from accessing health services.
- We also call on Member States to prioritise the institutionalisation of social participation by supporting and endorsing the resolution on social participation at the World Health Assembly next year.
Second and last, all stakeholders should prioritise the documentation, evaluation and mutual learning of past and current social participation mechanisms through research, to identify how such participation can be strengthened and made more inclusive in PHC and beyond.
Statement of Cary James (CEO, World Hepatitis Alliance and CSEM AG member), at the UN High-level Meeting on UHC
Panel 2: Aligning our investments for health and well-being in a post-COVID world – Margot/ Justin
Topic: integration of hepatitis into UHC programmes
The World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA), and our network of community-based organisations in 100 countries, welcome this UN High-Level Meeting on UHC and the inclusion of hepatitis in political declaration.
Viral hepatitis is one of the deadliest health crises of our time, claiming more than 1.1 million lives every year. To save these lives, viral hepatitis must be included in UHC programmes.
Evidence shows that viral hepatitis elimination strengthens health systems, reduces mortality, engages underserved populations and is cost effective. The World Hepatitis Alliance champions the role of civil society to strengthen health systems and encourages UN Member States to engage with the civil society including the hepatitis community in the development, implementation, monitoring and governance of their health programmes.
To achieve UHC within the financial constraints all health systems face, we must evolve beyond vertical disease responses into holistic, person centred approach that puts the needs of individuals above the silos that health services have operated within for too long.
Hepatitis elimination can be efficiently and cost-effectively integrated into HIV, tuberculosis, noncommunicable disease (NCD), and primary care programmes as well as used as a tool to engage vulnerable communities. Viral hepatitis disproportionately affects the most underserved communities. Countries that integrate hepatitis into UHC programmes can engage these communities and ensure no one is left behind.
With a vaccination and effective treatment for hepatitis B and a cure for hepatitis C we have the tools for elimination. In doing so, we will drastically reduce future health care costs and mortality from liver cancer, cirrhosis and other hepatitis related illnesses.
WHA members organisations stand ready to work together with member states and in partnership with civil society organisations across health to make UHC a reality for everyone.
Hepatitis can’t wait