On July 18, 2019, 63 participants from the national government, the private sector, civil society, CBOs, FBOs and community groups attended the UHC High-Level Advocacy Meeting in Kenya. Participants included representatives from Amnesty International Kenya, AMREF Health Africa, the Kenya Red Cross, UNAIDS, Christian Aid and the Ministry of Health.
The meeting was held to create a space for participants to discuss Kenya’s priorities for UHC, experiences from Kenya’s UHC pilot programme that launched in December 2018, and how to leverage the upcoming HLM to ensure no one is left behind. The meeting was facilitated by the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) in collaboration with the Kenya Red Cross, in partnership with UNAIDS and the Civil Society Engagement Mechanism (CSEM) for UHC2030.
Rachel Ndirangu, with Christian Aid and the CSEM, pointed out the rich diversity of representation at the meeting, which is critical for a multi-stakeholder engagement. She said 2019 is an important year for the UHC agenda, having gained recognition from the UN and setting aside an opportunity to have a high-level meeting for UHC in September.
The civil society organizations came up with the following asks for the UN HLM on UHC:
- Invest in social accountability/empowering CSOs and the communities to ensure that citizens are able to demand UHC and hold their respective government to account on its implementation.
- Put in place an all-inclusive governance structure (representatives from CSOs and affected communities) that would oversee the implementation of UHC at all levels – global, national and sub national.
- Engage CSOs as equal partners; ensure that the various groups (young people, PWDs, elderly, populations in transit/migrants, those affected by emergencies, prisoners, key populations and ethnic minorities, persons living with chronic conditions) are brought to the discussion table to ensure their voices are heard.
- Embrace a multi-sectoral, rights-based approach in implementing UHC, recognizing that many barriers to UHC lie beyond the health sector. It should cut across all government divisions/sectors.
- Timely access to information for effective public participation of the CSOs and community groups for policy development, strategy development and implementation of the UHC
- Embrace evidence-based robust data that is extensive, credible and disaggregated by sub groups for roll out
- Leverage existing technologies/innovations/existing programs and initiatives in the health sector to support the implementation of UHC.
Mercy Onsando of HENNET told participants that the CSOs need to be united and vibrant. She said a policy framework to implement UHC with clarity is urgently needed that will clearly outline mechanisms to involve all groups.
She underscored that prevention needs heightened focus within the UHC agenda. She concluded her remarks by saying the political will is good, however, politics should not define UHC and it is the responsibility of CSOs to ensure everyone owns the UHC agenda – thinking beyond 2022 when political regimes change.