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Connecting and Innovating: The 2023 Universal Health Coverage Action Agenda

By Anneke Schmider
on March 30, 2023

Hot off the press! The subject of substantial global collaboration, the 2023 UHC Action Agenda comprising 8 action areas has just been released by the UHC2030 movement.

Developed through a global Task Force and a partnership between UHC2030 and Chatham House ahead of three health-focused UN High Level Meetings in 2023, this Action Agenda has focused on the connection and innovation needed for future resilience, based on the lessons of the pandemic. It does this in a number of ways.

First, it takes a specific focus on connecting health policy agendas, rather than fragmenting them. It’s an important point for global policymaking that this Action Agenda seeks to connect global health policy agendas by focusing not only on the 2023 UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, but also connecting global policy ideas with the High-Level Meetings focused on Pandemic Preparedness and Response and TB.

At the national level, the Action Agenda is country-focused but does not specifically prescribe detailed actions. It proposes that national health policy frameworks are the right place for countries to focus on resilience by strengthening UHC and also connecting UHC with other priority policies and programmes. For example, Action Area 8 (Connect UHC and health security) focuses on how health systems can improve resilience by adopting ‘integrated approaches’ that connect universal health coverage to health security, for example, through primary health care.

Second, the Action Agenda takes a strong focus on strengthening innovation and ecosystems for UHC as well as for health priority areas. For example, Action Area 3 (Adopt enabling laws and regulations) calls for a priority focus on policies, laws and regulations that strengthen ecosystems for health-care technology and innovation to accelerate progress towards UHC. Action Area 4 (Strengthen the health and care workforce to deliver high-quality health care) proposes that countries invest in innovative care delivery models to improve the quality of health and care and foster trust, while Action Area 7 focuses on policy design for gender equality, including equal rights and equal access to services.

Finally, for those interested in the structure of policies, the 2023 Action Agenda uses a similar framework to the previous ‘Key Asks’ released in 2019. However, within this framework, there has been substantial attention paid to how priority actions are structured. Each of the priorities within each Action Agenda have been shaped by Kingdon’s ‘policy streams’ approach (Cairney, 2019), which recommends that three ‘streams’ must come together in order for policy change: political streams, policy streams, and a policy problem (which we have framed as a policy opportunity to address the challenge). This structure has been used to shape the priority actions in each area: the first priority action is political, the second is policy-oriented, and the third offers an opportunity to address a challenge.

For those interested in promoting and advocating for UHC in their countries, you can see the range of advocacy materials here.

Multistakeholder hearing registration: Registration for Multi-stakeholder Hearings on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) / Tuberculosis / Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (8-9 May 2023): Overview · Indico

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