Empowering health for all: Reflections on HSG’s commitments, and collaborations on Universal Health Coverage Day

As HSG marks Universal Health Coverage (UHC) day, this years’ theme being, ‘Health for All: Time for Action’, it is important to reflect on our support towards the goal of achieving UHC by 2030, by strengthening health systems.

Empowering health for all: Reflections on HSG’s commitments, and collaborations on Universal Health Coverage Day

Ana B. Amaya, DrPH, MPH

Treasurer, Health Systems Global

As HSG marks Universal Health Coverage (UHC) day, this years’ theme being, ‘Health for All: Time for Action’, it is important to reflect on our support towards the goal of achieving UHC by 2030, by strengthening health systems. We, at HSG also want to recognize what we should be doing going forward to ensure leaders are held accountable to their commitments to UHC.

Health Systems Global (HSG) has been committed to its work promoting health policy and systems research (HPSR), which contributes to creating a knowledge base for UHC, supporting evidence-based decision-making, and advocating for UHC through our collaboration with the UHC2030 movement and engagement in international discussions.

It is clear that achieving UHC and the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 will only be possible if we collectively devote greater resources to strengthening the capacity to produce, and use, systems-relevant research. A better understanding of how existing health and social systems, are advancing health equity, to achieve health for all, is essential.

As a convening space for researchers, policymakers and activists, HSG has contributed to producing, disseminating and translating evidence on UHC, creating opportunities for dialogue between different constituencies, and strengthening the production and adoption of evidence-informed policies on UHC.

HSG has also been involved in advocating for UHC through its collaboration with the UHC2030 movement. I have been honored to represent the Advocacy Working Group (AWG) of the HSG Board on several UHC committees, including the United Nations High-Level Meeting Task Force, which convened twenty representatives from UHC2030 constituencies to develop the UHC Action Agenda. This agenda provided action-oriented policy recommendations and concrete milestones to inform the UHC political declaration, adopted in September 2023 by United Nations Member States.

HSG has increased our engagement with the Related Initiatives for Health Systems Strengthening group. This aims to share resources and collaborate on health system and UHC goals, and the State of UHC Commitment Task Force – that brings together different groups to assess UHC commitments around the world and communicate findings to the wider public.

HSG has also sought to engage in international discussions around UHC, calling leaders to commit to UHC. I was fortunate to represent HSG during this year’s United Nations Multi-Stakeholder hearing on UHC, where we advocated for a Zero Draft political declaration on UHC with concrete milestones to achieve health for all, as well as joining discussions around UHC during the World Health Assembly. In addition, I participated in this year’s High-Level Meeting (HLM) on UHC where I submitted a statement on behalf of HSG’s Advocacy Working Group calling for greater investments in strengthening local research capacity, improving the production and adoption of evidence-informed policies and strengthening accountability for UHC. On the sidelines of the HLM, HSG co-organized an event – ‘Fast-tracking global health goals through health policy and systems research’ – with the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR), co-sponsored by the governments of Japan and Norway. The event was an opportunity to reflect on how HPSR was reflected in the political declarations that were adopted on UHC, tuberculosis and pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

We will also continue these conversations and engagement on UHC at our upcoming 8th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research. The Symposium’s theme is, ‘Building Just and Sustainable Health Systems Centering People and Protecting the Planet. It will be held in Nagasaki, Japan in 2024 and is currently open for abstract submissions.

Making progress on UHC is possible by 2030 but it will require accelerated action from all actors. Researchers, policymakers and advocates have an important role to play in calling for governments to implement policies to strengthen health systems and improve access to health. I urge you to join us in these efforts through your own work and engagement with HSG’s Thematic Working Groups, Regional Networks, Symposia and events to bring UHC targets to reality.

 

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