Heads of state from around the world are in New York today to pledge to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030.  UHC means leaving no one behind: quality health services should be available to everyone who needs them, without causing them financial harm.

Today in the Health Affairs blog, we explain why local civil society advocacy will be necessary to achieve and sustain UHC.  Civil society advocacy helps to generate political will for public health policies, ensure that health services and policies are appropriately resourced and implemented, and that governments are held accountable for their commitments.  Earlier this month, in Devex, we provided a specific example of advocacy for the successful transition of a health project from international donors to a local government, the type of advocacy and outcome that UHC will increasingly require.

Last week, we joined our partners in the Taskforce on Women and NCDs (non-communicable diseases) to call on governments and civil society organizations alike to ensure that women are at the table wherever health policies are being made.  We also signed NCD Alliance’s open letter to governments ahead of the UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, which urges them to use the High-Level Meeting on NCDs “to demonstrate leadership…to prevent much of the early death, pain and financial strain inflicted by NCDs.”

The High-Level Meeting on UHC will be followed by other important high-level forums, as well as the 74th United Nations General Assembly.  We look forward to an active week as heads of states, civil society and other stakeholders tackle public health and other pressing global issues.

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