Unite for Universal Health Coverage: Now is the Time for Collective Action

UHC Youth Movement Mobilization Event

Amref Health Africa and the co-conveners of the Africa Health Agenda International Conference (Africa Health 2019) Youth Pre-conference celebrated International Universal Health Coverage Day on Thursday 13 December 2018 at Amref International University. The event, “Youth in UHC Movement Mobilisation,” built momentum towards the launch of the #Youth4UHC Movement that is scheduled to take place at the Africa Health 2019 Youth Pre-conference. This youth movement is a platform to enable young people to foster the exchange of good practices, strategies and commitments from youth organisations and networks to influence national and regional consultation processes related to the SDGs and leading up to the High-Level Meeting on UHC in September 2019.

Approximately 40 youth attended the event from different organisations represented on the Youth Pre-conference Organising Committee, including Network for Adolescent and Youth in Kenya (Naya), Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), Sexual Reproductive Health Rights Alliance Kenya, Amref Health Africa, Y-ACT (Youth in Action), Centre for Reproductive Rights, Centre for the Study of Adolescents, and Stretchers Youth Organization.

Exciting activities at the event included:

  • Kahoot! Session: An interactive game-based session, during which the youth competitively answered different questions on UHC.
  • Panel discussion on youth engagement in UHC: The panel members included Mr. Anthony Buluma, CEO of Kenya Young Parliamentarians; Evelyne Anapendeza, advocate for people living with disabilities; and Risper Walumbe, Masters of Public Health (UHC). The discussion concluded with three key points:
    • Tips for advocating to policy makers: keeping messages as concise as possible; focusing on the solutions rather than the problems.
    • Even if UHC is available, we need to advocate for accessibility on health services as well as educate communities on the rights of youth living with disabilities.
    • Leadership starts with individual effort: “We should be the change we want to see.”
  • Personal pledges: The event culminated with participants signing selfie-cards with personal pledges on what UHC means to them. A photo session followed, with the youth holding their selfie-cards and an umbrella (the symbol of UHC). Many pledges focused on awareness of the benefits and the rights that UHC provides citizens, leaving no one behind and affordability of health care services for all citizens.

The #Youth4UHC social media campaign started on 10 December, led by the AHAIC youth on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. The campaign is ongoing, with young people, leaders and the online community encouraged to join the #Youth4UHC movement, through:

  • Creating awareness on UHC and youth engagement in UHC
  • Sharing the Astana Declaration on Primary Health Care guidelines and easy-to-understand summaries online
  • Engaging with key decision-makers to share objectives, progress and outcomes of the #Youth4UHC campaign

Stay tuned to our social media platforms, where we’ll be sharing quotes and pledges from youth throughout the rest of the month!

Overall, the event was a success, with youth leading and participating in critical discussions on the future of youth engagement in UHC. The Africa Health 2019 Youth Pre-conference will take these important conversations forward, to ensure that youth have a say in the policies affecting their health and futures, and to ultimately inform policymakers’ approaches to including youth in UHC service delivery and implementation.

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