News Items

A pandemic of inequality – A message for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) day 2021

On UHC day, December 12th, 2021, hera joins the call for broad-scale political and economic action to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), leaving no one behind.

With less than a decade left to go before the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) deadline, the pandemic continues to present major challenges. Inequity in access to health care is widening around the globe. In a recent discussion WHO Director-General Dr Tedros called it “a pandemic of inequality” and a “crisis of solidarity and sharing.” As we continue to grapple with the impact of COVID-19, it is critical that we do not lose sight of long-term UHC goals. Prioritising UHC and strengthening health systems is essential in recovering ground lost due to the pandemic and to achieving the broader SDG 3 of health and wellbeing for all.

hera is highly committed to the achievement of the SDG targets, in particular the ones related to health and human rights. We align our strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. From 2014 – 2017 we led several monitoring rounds for the UHC2030 predecessor, IHP+. For this work, we were in consultation with many governments, development partners, the private sector and civil society organisations and engaged in finding ways to measure and improve health system strengthening and partner collaboration. This work continues in a number of facets including our current support to Health System Global (HSG) in helping to develop their five-year strategic plan to position HSG at the forefront of health systems policy and research. We understand the intricacies involved in multi-stakeholder partnerships for health. At this time, trust in governments is eroding and the pandemic is stripping bare health systems across the globe that were unprepared, underfunded, or both. Success is now dependent on the political prioritisation of UHC and the willingness of stakeholders to collaborate and support this common goal.

The urgency the pandemic has brought to Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) and emergency preparedness has opened a political window and we need to take this opportunity. Political support has never been higher and the argument for HSS and UHC has never been more widely understood. On this UHC day for 2021, we join the global call for politicians and health system stakeholders to make bold strides, to prioritise UHC, to address major inequities in access to health care, and to leave no one behind.