By Rachel Ndirangu and Nanlop Ogbureke
On Sunday the 7th April we celebrate the World Health Day, with this year’s theme maintaining the focus on Universal Health Coverage (UHC). UHC means that everyone, everywhere deserves good quality healthcare, and can obtain the care they need, of sufficient quality, when they need it, without suffering financial hardships.
UHC has become a priority on the global health policy agenda in recent years, creating momentum and agency to ensure that all human beings have the right to the highest standard of health as articulated in various international declarations committed to by UN Member States.
In Africa, South East Asia, and in Latin America we are working with local partners to empower poor and marginalised communities on their right to health, access to health services and to hold service providers to account for delivering equitable, affordable and quality health services.
In Kenya, for example, we are working with our partner HERAF to educate citizens on the Kenya governments new UHC policy agenda dubbed “Afya care”, mobilise community enrolment for free health care in one of the 4 pilot countries, strengthen citizen capacity and participation at the local and national social accountability to ensure government fulfils its commitment to delivering UHC.
In Nigeria, we are working with partners, the Nigeria Health Watch (NHW), the Nigeria Joint Learning Network (NJLN), the Legislative Network, the Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC) among other stakeholders to raise citizen voices in influencing UHC policy reform to expand financial protection for the vulnerable populations in in Benue state and nationally. The partner has conducted a robust assessment to identify the states’ health policy direction, Health financing analysis and surveys on health expenditure to contribute evidence to support needed reforms for an efficient state health insurance scheme. The project has enabled communities to participate and raising citizen voices in public hearing, hence contributing to the passage of the State Social Health Insurance Scheme (SSHIS) Act 2018.
In Sierra Leone, Christian Aid is strengthening citizen’s health rights awareness and state engagements at community and district level through local partners RADA and BAN, while using nationwide citizen perception data to strengthen community-led accountability, increasing demand for adequate and quality essential services and lobbying for inclusive and equitable government policies through our SABI programme.
Christian Aid in Myanmar are working with partners to conduct series of social accountability surveys with village health committees and communities on quality and availability of health services at the community level. Communities are actively participating at public hearing sessions where they collectively engage with duty bearers (governments, ethnic health care providers, policy influencers) for the implementation of the National Health Plan and achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Globally, we are engaging with the global UHC 2030 movement. We are an active member of the civil society advisory group on UHC (CSEM), the civil society constituent of the International Health Partnership for UHC2030.
The CSEM raises civil society voices in UHC2030 to ensure that UHC policies are inclusive and equitable, and that systematic attention is given to the most marginalized and vulnerable populations so that no one is left behind.
Through this membership, we have contributed to key processes and deliverables on the road to achieving UHC including the following:
- Developing a position paper, On the Road to UHC: Leave No One Behind, an advocacy tool stating a CSO perspective on how UHC can be achieved by 2030.
- Leading virtual and face-to-face (Africa region in Kigali) civil society consultations on key asks to the global policy community and member states in the lead up to the UN High Level Meeting (HLM) on UHC in September in New York. This highly successful process resulted in policy asks that will be presented through the UHC2030 core team. As Christian Aid, we aim to support countries to engage their governments on their participation in the HLM and commitment to delivering UHC for their citizens.
- The CSEM has led and contributed to convening advocacy collaboratives for UHC to bring together representatives who support global and country level UHC advocacy. These joint actions amplify the call to drive progress on UHC. Read more on the different initiatives : Civil Society Advisory Group for the Global Action Plan; UHC Financing Advocacy Collaborative and Global Health Initiatives
Recently, we were nominated to participate in a World Health Organisation technical working group to develop a handbook on Social Participation for UHC. This will go a long way in ensuring that citizens voices are meaningfully considered in UHC policy design, services delivery and evaluation of UHC successes as more governments prioritise reforms for delivering UHC.
Christian Aid will continue to engage and collaborate with current efforts at national, regional and global levels on UHC to ensure that health for all becomes a reality by 2030.
Find out more about our Community Health programmes