Prioritizing Women’s, Girls’ Health, Rights Vital To Achieving UHC

Project Syndicate: Women and Girls Hold the Key to Universal Health Coverage
Françoise Girard, president of the International Women’s Health Coalition

“…As governments negotiate a groundbreaking declaration on [Universal Health Coverage (UHC)] this year, they should place the full range of sexual and reproductive health care services at the center of UHC strategies. Doing so would reduce the burden of disease and mortality borne by women and girls, while empowering them to control their own health and reproductive lives. … As the global push toward UHC intensifies, more opportunities to make this case are arising, including the recent World Health Assembly — where the Alliance for Gender Equality in UHC put forward a ‘7th Ask’ to give higher priority to women’s and girls’ health and rights — and this summer’s political negotiations at the U.N. These events will lay the groundwork for the U.N.’s High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage in September, where governments will adopt a roadmap for establishing, financing, and delivering UHC programs worldwide. Governments around the world have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to commit to providing quality, affordable health care — including the full gamut of reproductive and health services — to all. Seizing that opportunity will require strong political will. But one thing is clear: only by emphasizing the needs and rights of women and girls can any UHC strategy be truly universal” (5/31).

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