Participation of the PABSEC International Secretariat to the IPU online webinar “Universal health coverage in times of COVID-19 – Parliamentary best practices and challenges”, 17 November 2020

Participation of the PABSEC International Secretariat to the IPU online webinar “Universal health coverage in times of COVID-19 – Parliamentary best practices and challenges”, 17 November 2020

Mr. Daniel Dulca, PABSEC Deputy Secretary General, attended the online webinar entitled “Universal health coverage in times of COVID-19 – Parliamentary best practices and challenges”, organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), on 17 November 2020.

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) aims at providing every person equal access to quality health services as required without causing financial hardships. The current COVID-19 crisis has further strained health systems across the world and exacerbated inequalities putting vulnerable populations at an increased risk. UHC reaffirms the right to health as being a fundamental human right which makes the difference to countries’ responses to COVID-19 and the prevention and reaction to outbreaks of diseases. The IPU Advisory Group on Health guides the parliaments in implementing international commitments on health.

The meeting was moderated by Ms. Patricia Torsney, Permanent Observer and Head of the New York Office, IPU. Welcoming remarks were made by Ms. Given Katuta, Chair of the IPU Advisory Group on Health, Member of the Parliament of Zambia.

The main speakers included: Mr. David Clarke, Team Leader, UHC and Health Systems Law, World Health Organization (WHO), Ms. Pechdau Tohmeena, Member of the Parliament of Thailand, member of the IPU Advisory Group on Health, Ms. Rachel Blaney and Mr. Sven Spengemann, Members of the Parliament of Canada.

The webinar assessed the progress towards UHC, made by the Parliaments and underlined the common challenges in accelerating these efforts. Given the current pandemics, the participants discussed how to better involve UHC in the COVID-19 management, also giving examples on how UHC supports emergency preparedness and response.

The meeting provided the Parliaments with an overview of UHC in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemics. It also gave the opportunity for an exchange on approaches and actions which could be undertaken within the UHC, in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, sharing countries’ experiences and good practices so that to strengthen the parliamentary action at the national level.

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