Political declaration on Universal Health Coverage

The first high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) was held in New York under the theme, “Universal Health Coverage: Moving Together to Build a Healthier World” in late September. 

The meeting was looking to move progress forward on UHC and addressed financial risk protection, access to quality essential healthcare services, and safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and vaccines for all. It concluded with the adoption of a declaration.

The political declaration sets out a high-level framework for the development and implementation of national UHC plans with the engagement of civil society organisations and other stakeholders. 

The declaration strengthens movement on SDG target 3.8 on universal health coverage and the WHO’s ‘triple billion goals’, which include extending UHC to one billion more people by 2023. Though Member States welcomed the declaration, they did express concerns regarding the health impacts of climate change, health coverage for migrants and refugees, and language around sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The WHO said that the declaration was the world’s most comprehensive set of health commitments to be adopted at this level. 

Civil society’s assessment, however, states that they have a number of concerns around specific commitments and actions along with important issues that the declaration now omits, such as the deletion of the mention of ‘sexual and reproductive health’. 

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