Functional cross-cutting systems approach towards universal health coverage

In September 2015, the UN general assembly formally hallowed Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the Sustainable Development Goals, (SDG3) which constitutes an integral part of the set development efforts through 2030.  With the enshrinement of UHC in SDGs, WHO AFRO’s Health Systems and Services cluster (HSS) began taking progressive steps to identify approaches that would lead the region towards UHC attainment in the African Region. 

The HSS’s cluster’s efforts began in December 2016 with the First Regional Forum on Strengthening Health Systems for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Windhoek, Namibia. The goal of this gathering was to initiate and debate on AFRO’s actions towards implementation of the health SDG and Universal Health Coverage.  The main product of this meeting was a draft action framework which was later modified and tailored to address UHC taking into account the region’s varying context while taking a cross-cutting systems approach. The action framework following several revisions was later packaged and presented to Ministers of Health during the 67th regional committee in Victoria Falls which took place in August 2017. The ministers adopted the framework as a working tool to be used by WHO member states as they embark on the journey towards achieving UHC.  The HSS cluster will now work closely across other clusters and units within AFRO to begin supporting countries (select flagship countries) in identifying and implementing the set actions according to their specific contexts.