The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of well-functioning, properly resourced health systems as never before, with health systems in all countries around the world struggling to cope. In many lower-income countries, the challenges have been enormous, with already patchy health services overwhelmed or shut down; and with meagre funds available to tackle the pandemic without displacing resources from existing provision. In many countries, diagnosis, care and treatment for diseases such as TB, access to nutrition services, and routine immunisation have all been hugely set back by the COVID response, wiping out much of the progress made against poverty and disease in recent decades.
This June, leaders of the world’s seven largest economies – the ‘G7’ nations – will meet to discuss some of humanity’s biggest challenges, with the pandemic response right at the top of their list. It’s vital that they don’t just prioritise their own domestic healthcare challenges, but contribute to a truly global effort. International solidarity will be needed to build stronger, more resilient health systems and to kick-start global economic recovery. The G7 Summit, hosted by the UK Government, is an unmissable opportunity to adopt a holistic approach to strengthening health systems, tackling serious challenges such as extending the reach of routine immunisations; improving access to diagnosis, treatment and care for people affected by diseases like TB; and integrating nutrition services into wider health programmes.
As Summit host, the UK has the chance to influence its G7 peers to take this holistic approach. In the run-up to the Summit, please write to the Foreign Secretary, asking for the UK to influence G7 leaders to put their weight behind a global, equitable approach to building health systems to enable a more effective response and sustainable recovery from the pandemic and to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). See the links below for information on the G7 and strong health systems, and suggestions for your letter.
Catch up on the April Grassroots Conference call where we discussed this month's action in more detail.