Participants, including high-level officials from the Ministry of Health, WHO and UNAIDS, gathered for the first-ever United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UN HLM on UHC) Country Advocacy meeting in Malawi on June 27, 2019. The meeting, which convened 40 participants representing local and international civil society as well as government, was held in Lilongwe and supported by PAI, Health and Right Education Programme (HREP), Last Mile Health, and Christian Aid. The objectives of the one-day meeting were to strengthen Malawi’s position on UHC, enhance the capacity of civil society to advocate for the advancement of UHC, and strategize to influence commitment to UHC and accountability.
Civil society presented their asks for UHC, most of which echo the Key Asks from the UHC Movement for the UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage and Civil Society Priority Actions for the UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage. They advocated the government to take action towards achieving UHC as high out-of-pocket costs are driving people in Malawi into poverty. They also referred the government to documented policy options on increasing financing for health and decreasing out-of-pocket expenditure.
The participants broke into four working groups to discuss the following thematic priorities for UHC in Malawi: Primary Health Care, Sustainable Health Financing, Health Workforce, and Inclusiveness. More details on the full outcomes of the breakaway sessions and the meeting are in this report. Emerging next steps include plans to conduct UHC dialogues in all districts nationally, and to develop an advocacy plan. The meeting also resulted in a draft statement, which stakeholders will finalize and share with policymakers in Malawi ahead of the HLM on UHC.