Today in the world at least 400 million people have no access to essential health services, and 40 per cent of the world’s population lack social protection. Achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC), including for the most marginalized and vulnerable sections of society, is a crucial objective for many countries. UHC enables all people to receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship.
Putting strong health systems in place is the best defense against disease outbreaks turning into epidemics, leading to health crises. This means that UHC and global health security are two sides of the same coin. By ensuring a country has its core public health capacities in place to prevent, detect and respond to outbreaks and health emergencies, the foundation is set for a resilient health system that can enable the achievement of UHC.
UHC and global heath security are fundamental to the achievement of the SDGs, but ultimately they are a political choice. It is the responsibility of every country to pursue these goals, and parliamentarians have a key role to play in attaining them. Actively engaging parliamentarians in the global health discourse is critical, given the vital role they play in moving national health agendas forward and in translating scientific evidence into political action.
This technical briefing will provide an opportunity to hear the voice of parliamentarians and share experiences to better understand how, through their key functions of legislation, accountability, budget allocation and advocacy, parliamentarians can contribute to the achievement of UHC and global health security and ensure that health laws and policies are continuously informed by robust scientific findings.