New Statement Outlines Role of Private Sector in Achieving Universal Health Coverage

20 Sep 2019

Kirsten Salyer, Public Engagement, Tel.: +41 79 265 8773; Email:

  • Half the world’s population lacks access to basic health services, and each year almost 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty by health expenses
  • The private sector can play a vital role in achieving universal health coverage (UHC), outlined in the new UHC2030 Private Sector Constituency statement that complements the political declaration on UHC
  • Read the statement to learn more about how the private sector can contribute here
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New York, USA, 20 September 2019 – A statement released today by the UHC2030 Private Sector Constituency, which is hosted by the World Economic Forum, outlines how the private sector can help close the global healthcare gap by ensuring equal access to essential services, better quality healthcare and financial risk protection. UHC2030 is the global multistakeholder movement to accelerate progress towards UHC.

About half of the world’s population lacks access to basic health services, and each year almost 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty by out-of-pocket health expenses. UHC is based on the principle that all individuals and communities should have equitable access to quality essential health services without suffering financial hardship.

The launch of the Private Sector Constituency Statement is the first time that the private sector has collectively recognized the significant role it can play in achieving UHC. The private sector offers a diverse range of health products and services and provides more than 60% of health services in some countries.

In 2015, world leaders made a commitment to achieve UHC by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. On Monday 23 September, world leaders will gather for a UN High-Level Meeting in New York with a dedicated focus for the first time on UHC and recommit to achieve UHC by 2030. To complement the political declaration on UHC, the private sector statement provides a basis for further dialogue with all UHC stakeholders on shared vision and collaborative action to maximize private sector contributions to UHC. Following the High-Level Meeting on UHC, the UHC2030 Private Sector Constituency will work on putting the statement into action and will involve other stakeholders to collaborate on UHC.

The statement outlines seven ways the private sector can contribute to UHC:

  • Offer quality products and services that consider the needs of all people including poor and marginalized populations, and make these affordable, accessible and sustainable
  • Incorporate UHC principles, leaving no one behind, in core business models and objectives
  • Develop, test and scale up innovative business models that align with UHC goals
  • Create, adapt, apply and spur innovation
  • Help strengthen the health workforce, responding to local context, priorities and needs
  • Contribute to efforts to raise financing for UHC
  • Engage in, champion, and build capacities for relevant policy dialogue and partnerships with government and other stakeholders

The statement also emphasizes the role of governments and other stakeholders in creating an enabling environment for the private sector to contribute. It describes the importance of structured engagement of all partners, clear national health strategies, evidence-based policy objectives, a robust regulatory and legal system, sustainable public financing for primary healthcare, and procedures to work with non-state actors.

The UHC2030 Private-Sector Constituency developed this statement as a contribution to multi-stakeholder efforts towards UHC. It reflects inputs from other UHC2030 partners such as civil society, governments and international organizations, and sets out principles, values and actions that the Private Sector Constituency will actively champion.

It also aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG 3 on good health and well-being and SDG17 on partnerships, and the call for multistakeholder partnerships in the UHC2030 key asks for the UN High-Level Meeting on UHC.

UHC2030 is a multistakeholder platform and its secretariat is co-hosted by the World Bank Group and the World Health Organization. In addition to the Forum, the 30 members of the UHC2030 Private-Sector Constituency are: Accessible Quality Health Services (U-CARE); Allied World Healthcare; Amref Enterprises Limited; Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited; Becton, Dickinson and Company; DITTA; Fullerton Healthcare Corporation Limited; GE Healthcare; German Health Alliance; GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) ; Global Self-Care Federation; Henry Schein; International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations (IFPMA) ; Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (JPMA) ; Johnson & Johnson; Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI) ; MEDx eHealthcenter; Mission & Co. ; MSD; Novartis; Novo Nordisk; Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI); Ottobock; Pfizer; Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK); Royal Philips; Sanofi; Sumitomo Chemical Company; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company.

Reactions to the Statement

"It is essential to reframe public and private sector engagement as a partnership for shared outcomes. This statement provides a helpful basis for dialogue to promote shared UHC goals,” said Peter Salama, Executive Director UHC/Life Course at WHO.

"This UHC2030 private sector constituency commitment to overarching UHC principles of affordability, quality and equity in accessing essential health services is imperative,” said Muhammed Ali Pate, Global Director Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) Global Practice of the World Bank and the Director of Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF).

"Universal health coverage is the overarching umbrella for the SDGs, we need to create the conditions for all actors to work together, with a particular mention of governments and private sector entities. This statement is the framework for joint action," said Arnaud Bernaert, Head, Healthcare Industry, Member of Executive Committee, World Economic Forum.

"The launch of this statement of commitment to equity and non-discrimination, transparency and accountability and multistakeholder engagement is a step forward for improving the private sector’s contribution to public good,” said Justin Koonin, The Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030 (CSEM).

"The private sector is vital to efforts towards UHC. It is exciting to see the diverse membership of UHC2030’s Private Sector Constituency agree these common principles and actions,” said Githinji Gitahi, MBS, Group CEO Amref Health Africa and Co-Chair of UHC2030.

“The private sector constituency statement is very welcome; it makes a strong call for government’s stewardship role, including engagement with the private sector, in order to make progress towards UHC.” Isabella Maina, Head of the Division of Healthcare Financing, Ministry of Health, Kenya.

“To achieve UHC, it is critical to ensure strong cooperation and partnership between public and private sectors,” said Zwelini Mkhize, Minister of Health, South Africa.

Notes to editors

Thee main principles of the statement include equity and non-discrimination, transparency and accountability, evidence-based national health strategies and leadership, multistakeholder engagement and international cooperation.

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