Citizen Engagement in Global Health

In the 2030 Agenda established in 2015, the world community set bold commitments to “To ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” (Sustainable Development Goal #3). It followed this up in 2019 with a commitment to Universal Health Coverage (UHC). In the UN System’s Global Action Plan, one of the seven “accelerators” towards UHC is Citizen Engagement.

In a recent conversation with the Global Health Council, they brief us on a range of initiatives they’ve been involved with the “democratize health.”

  • Voice, agency, empowerment – handbook on social participation for universal health coverage provides specific best practice guidance to policy-makers on how to meaningfully engage with the population, communities, and civil society for policy- and decision-making. This guidance document was developed by the World Health Organization (via UHC2030 partnership) jointly with civil society actors, Member State representatives, and academia through the Social Participation Technical Network.
  • The Health for All Advocacy Toolkit provides national-level civil society organizations (CSOs) and health networks with the necessary resources to kick-start advocacy initiatives on universal health coverage (UHC). It offers advocates a central reference point—a ‘one-stop shop’ for key information and tools to advocate for UHC, hold policy-makers accountable for their commitments, and build a broad social movement within civil society to support health for all. The kit was developed by the Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030 (CSEM) — the civil society constituent of UHC2030.
  • A research article, “Governance of the Covid-19 response: a call for more inclusive and transparent decision-making” appears in BMJ (British Medical Journal) Global Health. The study of the official Covid-19 response in 24 countries reveals very little citizen engagement and that “female representation is particularly paltry.” The study was discussed in a United Nations Guest Article: “Covid 19—a test for political leaders to truly leave no one behind.

Featured image from the report cover, WHO, Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.