WHO Youth Council urges parliamentarians to take action on universal health coverage

On 25 March 2024, the WHO Youth Council represented by Kristina Almazidou presented a letter to Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General and to Mr Chungong, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Secretary General, urging them to mobilize parliamentarians and reinvigorate action towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

The letter outlined the following key youth asks to parliamentarians to protect the fundamental right to health:

1. Champion political leadership for UHC: Ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to the health services they need, without facing financial hardship. This is a moral imperative and a smart investment that will pay dividends in the form of a healthier, more productive population.

2. Adopt enabling laws and regulations: Recognize the critical link between health and climate change and ensure that health considerations are central to climate change strategies. This includes building climate-resilient health systems and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the health care sector.

3. Invest in UHC: Prioritize primary health care – with a focus on at risk communities – as it can deliver 90% of essential health services. With primary health care, our health systems can be better prepared to prevent and respond to health emergencies thanks to sufficient health workers, lab and data capacity, and basic services that can more rapidly detect and respond to outbreaks while continuing to deliver essential services.

4. Strengthen the health and care workforce: Invest in the education, employment, and retention of health workers, including by addressing existing shortages, and ensure decent pay and working conditions to ensure they are equipped to deliver high-quality health care.

5. Institutionalize social participation in decision-making: Ensure the inclusion of young people in the drafting, implementation, and evaluation of laws and policies that affect their health and wellbeing. This is the best way to ensure inclusive participation leading to policies that address our needs and concerns and trust in public action.

6. Increase transparency and accountability: Make data on UHC and the health impacts of climate change publicly available. This will allow us to track progress, improve accountability, and strengthen trustworthy data sharing.

The WHO Youth Council serves as the voice for more than 50 million youth from 22 youth organizations, providing advice on global health and other development issues from a youth perspective.

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