Community Engagement, Support Necessary To Achieve Universal Health Coverage, Opinion Piece Says
STAT: Put communities at the center of universal health coverage
Gunilla Carlsson, acting executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS; Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance; and Rico Gustav, executive director of GNP+, the Global Network of People Living with HIV
“The Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage, adopted recently at the United Nations General Assembly, could set the stage for a fairer world in which health is viewed as a human right and not as a commodity. … Lessons from the response to the AIDS epidemic over the past four decades and the evolving response to the global emergency around noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) clearly demonstrate that community engagement and human rights must be front and center. … If universal health care is truly meant to reflect meaningful community engagement, governments need to invest in the leadership and capacities of the diverse communities of people directly affected by NCDs and infectious diseases. Scaling up health prevention and treatment from millions of people to billions of people cannot be achieved by governments alone. It will require more training and resources for community-led services that enable communities and governments to better work together. Support for communities has never been so urgent to help them challenge exclusion from decision-making, poor public services, corruption, and the inequality they see daily…” (10/21).