• World leaders adopted the Political Declaration of the High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (HLM on UHC) at the UN General Assembly on 23 September. The declaration is the most comprehensive set of health commitments ever adopted at this level. Following the declaration’s adoption, Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, urged donors and country governments to move beyond business as usual to bolster primary health care systems and turn commitments into results.
  • Ahead of the HLM, the WHO released the 2019 UHC Monitoring Report, titled “Primary Health Care on the Road to Universal Health Coverage.” The report highlights that progress toward universal health coverage has been too slow, and calls on countries to pledge at least 1% of their GDP to primary health care to achieve UHC by 2030.
  • At last week’s UN General Assembly, 12 multilateral agencies launched a joint Global Action Plan to better support countries over the next 10 years to accelerate progress toward health-related SDGs. The plan focuses on country priorities and leverages agency expertise to improve primary health care, sustainable health financing, health data and digital health, among other priorities.
  • The Lancet published new data on primary health care highlighting how investing an additional US$ 200 billion a year on scaling up primary health care across low-and middle-income countries would potentially save 60 million lives and increase average life expectancy by 3.7 years by 2030.
  • “With political commitment to universal health coverage and the right investments in strong health systems, the future of Africa is not just healthier, it is also more prosperous and more powerful.” In an op-ed, President of Rwanda Paul Kagame and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for renewed commitment and collaboration between governments, donors, philanthropists and the private sector to bolster prosperity and achieve health for all in Africa.
  • new global effort to close the gap on data for development was launched on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. The Data for Now initiative will put recent technological advances to work, to urgently fill crucial data gaps.
  • Alan Donnelly, chair of the G20 Health and Development Partnership, and Ilona Kickbusch, professor of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, discussed the connection between health, sustainable growth and poverty. To reinforce the benefits of investing in health, the authors call on the WHO’s director-general to appoint a chief economist as part of his core team.
  • World Economic Forum experts highlighted the need to ensure that health resources are equitably distributed and used efficiently as countries work to increase health spending. To increase emphasis on quality health services and person-centered outcomes, the authors highlight the need for new financing models and technologies, and call for the integration of private and public spending. 

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