PATH at the 78th UN General Assembly: Strengthening primary health care for health equity and security

September 11, 2023 by PATH

At the 78th UN General Assembly, PATH urges world leaders to strengthen investments in primary health care. With 2030 goals looming, we must prioritize health equity and global health security.

PATH is joining leaders from around the world for the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) from 18-21 September 2023 in New York City. The theme for this year’s session is “Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: Accelerating action on the 2030 agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress, and sustainability for all.”

With three high–level meetings scheduled to discuss critical solutions to global health challenges, here are the key issues PATH will be following.

Prioritizing people-centered care to achieve universal health coverage

Key points:

  • The most significant way to advance health equity is by achieving universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030.
  • With conflict, climate change, and COVID–19 all setting back progress on ambitious goals and continuing to raise the stakes, UHC is more urgent than ever.
  • Primary health care (PHC) is a 3–for–1 investment in UHC, health security, and overall better health and well–being.
  • Investments have fallen short with programs too siloed to strengthen systems holistically and equitably.
  • Governments should invest in people–centered primary health care systems, focusing on strengthening health data and community engagement to ensure no one is left behind.

Breaking down silos to win the fight against tuberculosis

Key points:

  • Progress toward meeting End TB 2030 goals has slowed, but we can get back on track.
  • TB care must be integrated into other health services as part of a PHC approach to more efficiently fight the disease and advance equitable care.
  • Investing in rapid, equitable access to new and existing innovations is critical to reaching End TB 2030 goals.
  • We must expand beyond the health sector to eliminate TB— tobacco smoke, air pollution, overcrowding, malnutrition, and human rights, among other things, are social determinants that must be addressed.

Building sustainable pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response systems

Key points:

  • Resilient and sustainable PPPR systems require integration at the PHC level.
  • Governments and donors must Invest in innovative solutions and local manufacturing to more ensure equitable, responsive systems in the face of health emergencies.
  • For truly successful PPPR systems, all donors must improve coordination and commit to strengthening the global funds and institutions we all rely upon.

Looking beyond the HLM declarations

Key points:

  • While there is much to celebrate in the commitments to be made at UNGA’s high-level meetings, there is still more that can be done.
  • Despite commitments made just a few months ago at the World Health Assembly, these declarations have neglected to include key interventions such as medical oxygen, which has a vital role to play across all three of these health areas.
  • We also need specific calls for climate action(i.e. reducing wealthy country carbon emissions) as part of the multi-sectoral approach that health equity and global health security rely upon.

Side events

PATH is hosting and participating in numerous side events during UNGA. See our schedule at UNGA78.