IFPA at the 74th United Nations General Assembly

28 September 2019


On 23 September 2019, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) convened the first High-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), to secure commitment to UHC and accelerate progress by adopting a political declaration. Primary care, financial risk protection, and access to medicines were few of the issues discussed during the debate and included in the political declaration.

The United Nations General Assembly is the policy-making organ of the United Nations (UN). All UN member states (193) participate and deliberate on subjects of international relevance.

A UN High-level meeting is a meeting convened by UNGA to reach agreement on a specialized topic.

The high-level meeting on UHC opened with statements affirming the importance of primary care, the effects of pollution on health and the importance of other non-health related services to achieve health for all. Dr Tedros, WHO Director-General, mentioned that many countries use too much money to finance hospital care instead of primary care and disease prevention: “we must make a crucial shift and focus on protecting health rather than treating diseases”. He added that more than 80% of conditions can be addressed at the primary care level, so he asked the UN member states to relocate resources to primary care. The political declaration, previously negotiated by UN member states under the coordination of the governments of Georgia and Thailand, was adopted by acclamation during the opening segment of the high-level meeting. During the subsequent sessions of the high-level meeting, the UN member states delivered statements highlighting the progress made in their countries to achieve UHC, and several of those statements explicitly mentioned non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The constitution of a solidarity fund for supporting those countries with limited resources to achieve UHC, taxation of the richest and corruption elimination efforts were proposed as ways to finance health systems.

“We must make a crucial shift and focus on protecting health rather than treating diseases.”

World Health Organization's Director General, Dr Tedros, at the UN High-level meeting on UHC, 2019.

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IFPA side-event: Envisioning a health workforce for the future: optimizing NCD care and management

IFPA and the Global Psoriasis Coalition co-organized a side-event on health workforce and psoriasis care entitled “Envisioning a Health Workforce for the Future: Optimizing NCD Care & Management”, together with the NCD Alliance.

The side-event addressed the issue of the lack of health workers worldwide, the need of a patient-centered approach to care and the coordination between primary and specialistic care for NCDs, taking psoriasis as an example of complex non-communicable disease requiring coordinated care at the specialist and primary care levels. Among the panelists were Kathleen Gallant (IFPA) and Steven Biskhoff (National Psoriasis Foundation), who highlighted the challenges of living with psoriasis and navigating the complexity of the health system.

Two reports were launched during the side-event: “Beyond Gatekeeping: Effective Primary Care Support in the Management of Psoriasis & Psoriatic Arthritis” by the Global Psoriasis Coalition and “Protecting Populations, Preserving Futures: Optimizing the Health Workforce to Combat NCDs and Achieve UHC” by the NCD Alliance.

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More resources on psoriatic disease and universal health coverage