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May 22, 2019

GHTC statement on Universal Health Coverage delivered at WHA

The following statement—from Global Health Council (GHC), supported by Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC), PAI, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), Management Sciences for Health (MSH), Living Goods, Partners In Health (PIH), and RTI International—was delivered at the 72nd World Health on agenda item 11.5: Universal health coverage.

GHC supported by GHTC, PAI, EGPAF, MSH, Living Goods, PIH and RTI International thank you for the opportunity to comment on the agenda item on UHC in preparation for the HLM.

The SDGs call for achieving UHC, as well as for reducing maternal mortality; ending preventable deaths of newborns and children; and ending the epidemics of AIDS, TB, malaria and neglected tropical diseases. To ensure coherence among these goals, special efforts must be made to reach the most vulnerable populations. In addition, it is essential to have innovation and R&D elevated as a central pillar to achieving UHC.

The Political Declaration should include language to strengthen health systems down to the community level by investing in R&D, health workers, and capacity building programs to ensure access to quality care for all. We urge the inclusion of measures to disaggregate data by age and gender in order to ensure all people are counted when measuring progress towards UHC and to set specific targets for those hardest to reach with essential health services, such as children and adolescents. 

We also call for a commitment for user fees to be avoided for essential services in countries where they can be prohibitively expensive. 

The prioritization of Primary Health Care is needed to achieve UHC and PHC must go beyond the facility level to the community and frontline health workforce teams. UHC plans should be developed to include capacity-building at the national level to promote a health workforce that can deliver essential health services for all ages. Special focus should be given to equipping community health workers with the appropriate training, tools, technology, salary and support to deliver UHC where people live. 

The achievement of the right to health through UHC is not solely the responsibility of Member States and requires the collective commitment and action of global duty bearers via international assistance and cooperation. We urge the establishment of a global pooled mechanism to fund the significant gap that exists between the horizon of what local governments can reasonably fund, and what is required for the achievement of UHC in LMICs.

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