uhc

 {Photo credit: Crystal Lander/MSH}Gloria Sangiwa (left), MSH Senior Director of Technical Quality and Innovation and Global Technical Lead on Chronic Diseases, talks with another delegate at the Global Health Council (GHC) welcome reception.Photo credit: Crystal Lander/MSH

This blog post is part of our Global Health Impact series on the 67th World Health Assembly in Geneva, May 18-24, 2014. MSH is co-hosting three side events focusing on the role of universal health coverage (May 20), chronic diseases (May 20), and governance for health (May 21) in the post-2015 framework. This year, six MSH representatives are attending WHA as part of the 60-plus-person Global Health Council (GHC) delegation.

Sunday was my first day in Geneva for the World Health Assembly (WHA). I attended WHA last year for the first time, and I am feeling a bit like a second-year college student.

As I prepared for this year’s meeting, a few colleagues asked me: Why is the WHA so important to global health policy? Who attends these things and why? I instantly responded to the questions somewhat defensively: "It’s the WHA--that’s why!"

 {Photo credit: Anteneh Tesfaye/MSH.}MSH staff Grace Gatebi and Patrick Borruet at the MSH Kenya UHC Symposium photo exhibition.Photo credit: Anteneh Tesfaye/MSH.

The goal of universal health coverage (UHC) is to improve equitable access to health services while protecting households from impoverishing out-of-pocket health spending. In principle, UHC means that lifesaving services and medicines will be accessible and affordable for those who need them. To create deeper awareness of UHC in Kenya, Management Sciences for Health Kenya (MSH Kenya) country office organized a symposium on setting the national health agenda post 2015, called, “Achieving Universal Health Coverage through Stronger Health Systems”.

During the symposium, MSH Kenya organized a photography contest. MSH staff submitted photographs on the theme of “Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Kenya – Financing, Quality, Access and Essential Medicines” (with a focus on the most vulnerable populations). An independent jury selected 19 of the photos for an exhibition at the symposium.

 {Photo credit: Anteneh Tesfaye Lemma/MSH.}Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Health James Macharia (left) and MSH President Jonathan D. Quick (right) sign the canvas pledge.Photo credit: Anteneh Tesfaye Lemma/MSH.

I felt like I had traded my mother’s health for my children’s schooling. It was a tough choice, and I cried every day.

This emotional remark was made by Lucy Njoki, a Kenyan mother and grandmother, at the Health for All Campaign Launch Event on April 28, 2014, in Nairobi. She had been forced to choose between paying for her children’s education or her mother’s urgently needed medical treatment. She could not afford both. Affordable and accessible health care remain an unrealized dream for many Kenyan citizens.  

Unfortunately, Lucy’s story is not uncommon. Lucy represents millions of people who are pushed into poverty due to catastrophic health expenditures in Kenya. The Health for All: Campaign for Universal Health Coverage in Africa is building awareness and advocating for universal health coverage (UHC) in Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Kenya. Implemented effectively, UHC ensures that all people have access to the quality services they need, without suffering financial hardship.

 {Photo credit: MSH}(From left) Hiwot Emishaw (Health for All Campaign); Dr. Femi Thomas (National Health Insurance Scheme); Prof. Khama Rogo (Health in African Initiative, International Finance Corporation in Nigeria); Hon. Minister of Health, Prof. C.O. Onyebuchi; Amb. Bala Sanni (Federal Ministry of Health); Nuhu M. Zabagyi (NHIS Board Chairman); Marie Francoise Marie Nelly (World Bank Country Representative); Pieter Walhof (PharmAccess Foundation); Abuja, March 9, 2014.Photo credit: MSH

In Nigeria, the Health for All: Campaign for Universal Health Coverage in Africa is effectively collaborating with stakeholders to support the government move toward universal health coverage (UHC).  Led by MSH and funded by The Rockefeller Foundation, the Health for All Campaign co-hosted a National Stakeholders Meeting on UHC in conjunction with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and PharmAccess Foundation on March 9, 2014. The prior day, March 8, the campaign hosted a media forum on “Effective coverage of progress towards universal health coverage in Nigeria.”

 {Photo courtesy of Erik Törner/Individuell Människohjälp.}Health clinic in Kathmandu, Nepal.Photo courtesy of Erik Törner/Individuell Människohjälp.

Cross-posted with permission from The Wilson Center’s NewSecurityBeat.org.

The global maternal health agenda has been largely defined by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for the last decade and half, but what will happen after they expire in 2015? What kind of framework is needed to continue the momentum towards eliminating preventable maternal deaths and morbidities? [Video Below]

For a panel of experts gathered at the Wilson Center on February 20, universal health coverage is a powerful mechanism that may be crucial to finishing the job.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman.}Photo credit: Warren Zelman.

The Millennium Development Goals, due to expire next year, have defined an era of global health. Since their adoption in 2000, the global AIDS response has scaled up massively; childhood immunization has become the norm in most settings; and many more women can access the family planning and reproductive healthcare they need. The MDGs coincided with, and perhaps helped to usher, a “Golden Age” of global health funding, which supported hard work and innovation that saved millions of lives.

 {Photo credit: MSH} (Left to right) Geoffrey Ratemo of Rutgers University; Senator Godliver Omondi, chair of United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK); Dr. Abdi Dabar Maalim of the Transition Authority; Ndung’u Njoroge of the Transition Authority; and Evanson Minjire of Vision 2030 Secretariat at the first "Health for All" technical working group meeting in Kenya.Photo credit: MSH

The Health for All: Campaign for Universal Health Coverage is working to ensure that challenges that hinder access to quality health care in Kenya are addressed. The campaign aims to ensure that governments and stakeholders in health services delivery prioritize strengthening infrastructure, human resource for health, and health care financing to improve service delivery.

The campaign will official launch on April 28, 2014 with the theme, "Health systems strengthening for universal health coverage".

In preparation for this launch, the campaign team has recruited a Technical Working Group to spearhead the campaign. At the first meeting on January 21, 2014, the team identified the health systems strengthening theme and three sub themes for the campaign: strengthening infrastructure, human resource for health, and health care financing.

[Campaign partners at the messaging workshop in Kenya.] {Photo credit: MSH}Campaign partners at the messaging workshop in Kenya.Photo credit: MSH

{Photo credit: Rui Pires.}Photo credit: Rui Pires.

Post updated: February 19, 2014 to include Feb. 20 webcast link, hashtag, and new UNFPA speaker.

You are invited to join MSH and our partners for two exciting events this month in Washington, DC, and Brooklyn, New York.

On Thursday, Feb. 20, President & CEO Dr. Jonathan D. Quick will join Drs. Ana Langer and Jacqueline Mahon at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC, for a critical discussion on addressing gender-based inequalities in health through a shared maternal health and universal health coverage (UHC) post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

On Thursday, Feb. 27, panelists, including MSH's Director of Strategic Communications Barbara Ayotte and two MSH photo fellows, will discuss using the power of photography to increase global health awareness. Ayotte will also describe the MSH Photography Fellows Program, in partnership with SocialDocumentary.net. A photography exhibition and reception will follow this New York event.

{Photo credit: Todd Shapera.}Photo credit: Todd Shapera.

This post originally appeared on The Lancet Global Health Blog.

A strong civil society is essential for realizing the lofty goal of achieving universal health coverage (UHC). While the ongoing global discussions around UHC have largely focused on the role of government and development partners in designing and implementing risk pooling mechanisms that have the potential to improve access to essential health services, there has been little discussion on the key role that local civil society organizations (CSOs) play to ensure various communities support UHC and hold governments accountable.

Pages

Printer Friendly Version
Subscribe to RSS - uhc