IPU resolution on universal health coverage a boost for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health

17 October 2019 ¦ Belgrade, Serbia

Photo courtesy of IPU

The 141st Assembly of the Inter Parliamentary Union has adopted the landmark resolution “Achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030: the role of Parliaments in ensuring the right to health,” notching up another milestone in reaching the ambitious target of universal health coverage (UHC).

PMNCH, a member of the IPU Advisory Group on Health, played an important role in advocating for women’s, newborns’, children’s and adolescents’ health and well-being to be central to the resolution through public statements, events and strategic advocacy.

“Today’s historic resolution by the Inter Parliamentary Union, committing 179 national parliaments to take measures to achieve universal health coverage especially for women, children and adolescents, is a welcome step in the right direction,” said Helga Fogstad, PMNCH Executive Director.

The resolution not only recalls the 2012 IPU resolution “Access to health as a basic right: The role of parliaments in addressing key challenges to securing the health of women and children” (also known as the Kampala resolution), the first ever IPU resolution on health, but it moves the needle further by recognising that “UHC must ensure that …no one is left behind, in particular the vulnerable, stigmatized or marginalized and, among others, children, youth, women” and that as such parliamentarians need to “strengthen health system so as to reduce maternal, newborn and child and adolescent mortality and morbidity by strengthening sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn and adolescent health and nutrition services, promoting in particular breastfeeding, systematic immunization campaign and early childhood development interventions, as well as by providing information on and access to the broadest possible range of safe, effective, affordable and acceptable modern methods of family planning.”

“Parliaments play a key role in accelerating progress towards UHC and in ensuring that all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. Key parliamentary actions are now defined in terms of legislation, accountability, advocacy and budget allocation,” said Dr Flavia Bustreo, Chair of the Governance and Nomination Committee at PMNCH. She added: “Now we need to translate this commitment into concrete actions at national and regional levels.”

PMNCH is at the forefront to assure that this resolution will not become a dead letter. PMNCH and IPU have a long history of fruitful collaboration: PMNCH participates in the Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS and Maternal, Newborn and Child Health as a technical partner, mobilizes parliaments to ensure accountability and implementation of the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health and leads advocacy and capacity building events to raise awareness on women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health.

This collaboration will continue with an increased focus on country level work and promoting parliamentary implementation of global resolutions.