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  • Kimberley Peek

Universal Health Coverage and Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response

Updated: Nov 23, 2023


In May, the United Nations will hold consultations to get input on the High-Level Meetings on Universal Health Coverage UHC and Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (PPR) planned for September. Why do we need both? They are mutually reinforcing!


UHC is fundamental for Pandemic Prevention:

  • Ensures that immunizations, screening and diagnostics are available and affordable to all.

  • Provides older populations and those most at risk with support to stay healthy, increasing resistance to health threats.

UHC is fundamental for Pandemic Preparedness:

  • Ensures well-trained and well-equipped personnel are firmly in place before a crisis hits.

  • Monitors trends and identifies problems through disease surveillance, data collection, and labs.

UHC is fundamental for Pandemic Response:

  • Furnishes skilled health personnel who can be the first to identify problems and potential epidemics and trigger a response.

  • Engenders and strengthens trust.

  • Maintains routine care during a crisis.

Pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response (PPR) requires adequately financed and equipped UHC. But we saw from COVID-19 this is not enough.

That is why at the September United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), we need an all-of-government, high-level political declaration to do it differently next time.


The declaration should:

  • Create a standing head-of-government and head-of-state level council to drive cohesive, ongoing vigilance and concerted action on current and future pandemic threats.

  • Secure political commitment to a new pandemic countermeasures framework.

  • Articulate a cohesive, shared, and multisectoral approach at national, regional and global levels.

  • Reinforce other initiatives, including the Pandemic Accord and IHR amendments.

  • Secure commitment to domestic financing for health systems, as well as financing for PPR as a global public good.

  • Secure commitment to ensure a well-functioning, sustainably financed WHO to support countries to reduce the risk of health emergencies.

  • Secure agreement on a robust independent monitoring and accountability framework, including a commitment to hold a follow-up summit at the 2024 UNGA to assess progress and gaps.

Read more in our briefing note with the Pandemic Action Network and United Nations University - IIGH on the rationale for and outcomes required at the Pandemic Preparedness and Response High-Level Meeting in September.

UHC HLM and PPR HLM 15 April
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