African Leaders Chart a Path to Achieving Universal Health Coverage in the Time of COVID-19

New York, NY— On June 5, 2020, the  Access Challenge and the Harvard Global Health Institute will host a webinar: ‘Finding Opportunity in Crisis: How to Use COVID-19 to Build Better UHC Systems in Africa’. This webinar will bring together top African officials and global health specialists to discuss the opportunity COVID-19 provides to focus attention on the importance of Universal Health Coverage.  Panelists will highlight how COVID-19 investments can be used to build long term health system capacity with a view towards achieving UHC by 2030.

The African Union, the Africa CDC, and Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation - The Access Challenge and Harvard Global Health Institute turn the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity for building better health systems. 

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“It may seem overwhelming to think about climate change as we face the biggest pandemic of a century”, says Stefanie Friedhoff, Director of Strategy at the Harvard Global Health Institute. “But the crisis also provides an opportunity. The ability to achieve equitable access to health for all is inextricably linked to how we respond to the global challenge of climate change. In partnering with the Access Challenge and the One by One Campaign on this report, we are hoping to provide clarity on how and where these connections are occurring, and deliver a framework for leaders to identify the root causes of strains on the health care system further upstream, in the agricultural policies or environmental or economic conditions where they originate. By doing so in the wake of COVID-19, we can build UHC that is resilient to ongoing threats such as climate change.”

“With the rise of COVID-19 across continents and borders, there has never been a better time to realize the value of investing in UHC. I call upon the global, regional and national leaders and communities to respond to both the immediate threats of the pandemic with a view towards building sustainable universally accessible health systems. Political commitment to UHC during this precarious time is critical to protecting the health of mothers and children everywhere now and for future generations.”  said H.E. Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.

The Access Challenge and the Harvard Global Health Institute are hosting this webinar in partnership with the African Union, the Africa CDC, and Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation, to serve as a platform for African leaders to reaffirm their commitments to UHC during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At the same time, both institutions will present a joint report that offers a new framework for achieving UHC by 2030 by applying multi-sectoral approaches, and by addressing the threat climate change poses to UHC if left unmitigated. The report, “Africa Leads the Way: Harnessing Multi-sectoral Collaboration to Achieve UHC” makes visible the relationships between diseases prevalent in African countries and the underlying causes, including the lack of access to fundamental building blocks of a healthy society such as nutritious food, access to WASH and clean air. It is a follow up to the ‘2019 One by One Conference’ held alongside two UN High-Level Meetings on UHC and Climate Action in September 2019.

Speakers include: 

H.E. Amira El Fadil, African Union Commissioner of Social Affairs will speak to the significant work that the African Union and Africa CDC are doing now as they coordinate across sectors to unite leaders around a common agenda to beat COVID-19 in a way that will build more resilient health systems and communities.

“To make true progress we need to bring together more than just the health sector. We must work across sectors to bring health to the forefront of all national agendas.” - H.E. Amira El Fadil


Kelly Phouyaphone | Harvard Global Health Institute | Phone: 860-518-9949 Email:

Théa Klement | The Access Challenge | Phone: 575-636-4201 | Email:


Details: Zoom webinar, 10am EST,   Follow:  #AfricaLeadsUHC @OnebyOne2030 @harvardgh


About The Access Challenge

The Access Challenge is a not for profit organization which works with national, political, business, and cultural leaders to advocate for equal access to healthcare. The Access Challenge recruits influencers and highlights their leadership through high-profile mass media campaigns and targeted high-level leadership engagement in order to catalyze expanded investment in health and the requisite policy changes needed to promote universal access to health. For more information, please visit

About Harvard Global Health Institute

The Harvard Global Health Institute leverages expertise and resources across the Harvard University community and beyond to pioneer solutions to the biggest challenges in human health. As a reputable academic institution, HGHI can come to the table as an educational facilitator while also engaging key stakeholders across sectors and disciplines. HGHI’s goal is to empower the next generation of leaders and push the status quo through the development of evidence-based knowledge and tools. For more information, please visit

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