World Health Assembly: Civil Society and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on Health

Jason Wright

Health Programs Group Senior Director, Project Implementation (and former LMG Project Director)

Jason Wright is the Director of the Leadership, Management, and Governance Project.

I am pleased to be in Geneva for the 68th World Health Assembly (WHA). On May 18 (Monday), I attended a workshop entitled Moving the Health Goal Forward: Civil Society Action on Indicators, Measurement, and Accountability sponsored by:

(I co-chair the GHC Board Membership and Development Committee, and I previously served as U.S. Director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance.)

GHC Executive Director Christine Sow and AIDS Alliance Policy Manager Marielle Hart introduced the workshop. They showed an AfGH video on Making Universal Health Coverage (UHC) a Reality.

Making Universal Health Coverage A Reality by Action for Global Health

Marielle chaired a first panel including:

Jennifer discussed the Summit on Measurement and Accountability for Results in Health: A Common Agenda for the Post-2015 Era on June 9-11, 2015, in Washington. She noted that global health leaders at the summit will endorse a Roadmap for Health Measurement and Accountability and a Five-Point Call to Action to:

  1. Increase the level and efficiency of investments by governments and development partners to strengthen the country health information systems in line with international standards and commitments
  2. Strengthen country institutional capacity to collect, compile, share, disaggregate, analyze, disseminate, and use data at all levels of the health system
  3. Ensure that countries have well-functioning sources for generating population health data, including civil registration and vital statistics systems, census, and health survey programs tailored to country needs, in line with international standards
  4. Maximize effective use of the data revolution, based on open standards, to improve health facility and community information systems including disease and risk surveillance, financial, and health workforce accounts, empowering decision-makers at all levels with real-time access to information
  5. Promote country and global governance with citizens’ participation for accountability through monitoring and regular inclusive transparent reviews of progress and performance at facility, subnational, national, regional, and global levels, linked to the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Ties discussed developments in increasing measurement and accountability including the Health Metrics Network (HMN) and the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health. He noted that we have achieved a digital revolution but not yet a data revolution. He cited the U.S. Government as the largest investor in health information and the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) Program in particular.

Tim stated that "there is a lot of jargon around the results agenda." He noted interest in rationalizing and systematically investing in the agenda. He also cited the U.S. Government as the largest investor in health information and stated that “we would be lost” without the DHS Program.

Marielle asked about the monitoring framework for UHC. Ties noted that the framework was published last year and the first global monitoring report will be launched on June 12 in New York.

AfGH Coordinator Tim Roosen and CHESTRAD President Lola Dare discussed civil-society consultations on measurement and accountability.

Tim stated that "what we measure, we treasure." He discussed an AfGH technical meeting on April 23 and 24 in Brussels. An outcome document makes recommendations regarding:

  • Post-2015 global health indicators
  • National UHC monitoring
  • International public financing for health
  • Meaningful engagement of all stakeholders
  • Accountability of health providers

Lola noted that there are 27 accountability platforms and 21 reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (RMNCAH) engagement platforms or programs. She presented the results of One Voice Coalition consultations in six technical areas. Her themes included:

  • Measure or perish
  • Lead, own, and tell
  • More money, better results

She noted the creation of a Youth Development Index.

Christine and Lola presented a draft Civil Society Statement on Measurement and Accountability for Health. They indicated that there will be civil society meetings before and after the Summit on Measurement and Accountability for Results in Health on June 8 (Monday) in the afternoon and June 11 (Thursday) in the afternoon.