Back to UHC Day Stories

Solidarity in the Time of COVID-19, the new report from CIVICUS, documents civil society’s vital response to the pandemic, setting out how civil society helped people most in need, filled gaps and defended rights. Civil society organisations (CSOs) mobilised to provide food, sanitary supplies and essential health services. They offered a lifeline for people not reached by government schemes and excluded from healthcare.

In country after country, CSOs found creative and compelling ways to share information on how to reduce infection risk, and shifted their focus to respond to unmet needs for personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitiser. In Brazil’s Amazon, Health Expeditionaries set up temporary hospitals where Indigenous people could receive local treatment, while in the country’s slums, community leaders hired ambulances and built databases to track cases that would otherwise go unaccounted. Algeria’s Hirak protest movement reorganised to provide PPE to hospitals, as did Unidos para Ayudas Médicas in Venezuela. In Yemen, the Food4Humanity Foundation channelled support from the Yemeni diaspora to train around 200 medical workers. These are just a few examples of how around the world, civil society worked to tackle problems caused by inadequate healthcare coverage.

Civil society never lost sight of the underlying social fractures that made the pandemic’s impact much worse for excluded populations, and continued to advocate for structural change. The pandemic exposed and deepened existing problems, and civil society continues to assert that not only does everyone has a right to healthcare, but also that societies are stronger when everyone is covered.

Hear Ines M. Pousadela, Senior Research Specialist at CIVICUS, discuss the role of civil society organizations in responding to the pandemic and the key lessons from this report.


To learn more:

In the lead-up to UHC Day 2020 (“Health for All: Protect Everyone”), we are highlighting how CSEM member organizations are contributing to ensure the COVID-19 response protects everyone and keeping momentum going for universal health coverage amid the crisis. See more.

Join us for the virtual UHC Day rally on 12 December 2020 — share your commitment to UHC and call on decision-makers to protect everyone!