Advocates of Universal Health Coverage Push for Clear Milestones, Accountability

By Vince Blaser,
Director, Frontline Health Workers Coalition ; Carol Bales ,
Advocacy and policy communications manager, IntraHealth International
The future of universal health coverage starts here.
September 25, 2019
As policymakers, advocates, and other global health stakeholders have descended on New York and the United Nations this week, two words seem to sum up the conversations around universal health coverage (UHC):
Now what?
From the years of clamoring for UHC to be a central priority in global health policy to the breakthrough 2012 UN resolution urging countries to prioritize UHC, Sustainable Development Goals target 3.8 in 2015, the Astana Declaration last year, and the adoption of the Political Declaration for the High-Level Meeting on UHC this week, we’ve seen a step-wise approach to taking UHC from words on paper to real commitments, policies, and investments to make it a reality.
With the new commitment made on Monday at the UN, and how it will be done still pretty fuzzy, the “Now what?” question takes on outsize importance.
We believe health workers are at the heart of health for all.

How much these global commitments to UHC really drive change toward universal access to high-quality, essential health services and the affordability of those services depends on how well we collectively answer the question. While the political declaration does mention the need to address many of the components necessary to achieving UHC, the direct policy and financial commitments needed to meaningfully address those components are lacking.