Statement on Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

For over 60 years, FIGO has collaborated with the world's top health bodies to work towards the improvement of women's health globally.

FIGO is in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO), and attending the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, 20th - 28th May, 2019.

Read our statement on the Director-General's report on Primary Health Care towards Universal Health Coverage.

FIGO welcomes resolution EB144.R9 on primary health care adopted by the Executive Board at its 144th Session, and the Director-General’s report reaffirming the ambitious and visionary pursuit of health for all.

We are committed to mobilising our 132 National Member Societies to take joint action in building stronger and sustainable primary health care towards achieving universal health coverage, essential for meeting the health-related Sustainable Development Goals.

Dramatic reductions in maternal, neonatal and child deaths in the last 40 years are commendable, but preventable mortality is a systemic failure that cannot be addressed through standalone targets. FIGO agrees that primary care is a whole-of-society approach to health, essential throughout the life-course and addressing the broader determinants of health. For women, girls and adolescents that means:

  • recognising ‘Health for all’ begins at preconception and continues through pregnancy  
  • integrating sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) from the beginning

As the report states, elements of primary health care need to be updated in order to respond to health system challenges and take advantage of new resources and opportunities for success. Awareness and promotion of preconception health, informed by evidence, can help to rebalance the uneven progress towards improvement of health and well-being noted across and within countries.

Although the report mentions sexual and reproductive health as a related SDG3 target, FIGO is extremely concerned that it makes no mention of reproductive rights and gender equality, key areas of the SDG5 targets. Women have specific health needs, and universal health coverage cannot succeed if half of the population is not engaged in its design and delivery.

This must be addressed in the preparatory process before and at the high level meeting on universal health coverage in September 2019, ensuring the long-term sustainability of health systems, so that women and girls are not left behind.

About FIGO

FIGO is a professional organisation that brings together obstetrical and gynecological associations from all over the world.

FIGO’s vision is that women of the world achieve the highest possible standards of physical, mental, reproductive and sexual health and wellbeing throughout their lives, we lead on global programme activities, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia.

FIGO advocates on a global stage, especially in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) pertaining to reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and non-communicable diseases (SDG3). We also work to raise the status of women and enable their active participation to achieve their reproductive and sexual rights, including addressing FGM and gender based violence (SDG5).

We also provide education and training for our Member Societies and build capacities of those from low-resource countries through strengthening leadership, good practice and promotion of policy dialogues.

FIGO are in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO) and a consultative status with the United Nations (UN).