In November 2020, IDS, and over 2,000 fellow members and partners from over 140 countries will meet in Dubai for the biennial Sixth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (#HSR2020). The Symposium is co-sponsored by Health Systems Global (HSG) – the international membership society for people interested and engaged in the generation and use of knowledge from health policy and systems research – the WHO, and a number of other regional and international supporters.
Ten years on from the First Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, the symposium offers an important opportunity to explore how a global commitment to UHC can be made real and work in a complex and rapidly changing world. Moreover, how progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal to “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” can be accelerated.
Recognising health as a fundamental human right, 2019 was a year more actors on the global stage began to openly recognise, or perhaps admit, that improving and protecting the health of people around the world, and particularly the poorest and most vulnerable, is a political choice and a fundamental human right.
During September’s High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage at the 74th UN General Assembly, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, described the High-Level Meeting’s Political Declaration as “the most comprehensive agreement ever reached on global health – a vision for Universal Health Coverage by 2030”. This may be true, but as the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said repeatedly in the lead up to, during, and after the meeting, “UHC is a political choice”, and by signing up to the Political Declaration “world leaders have signalled their readiness to make that choice” and must now show “bold national leadership”.
Mutual learning for health
A movement towards universalism – in terms of a slowly growing awareness that people and the planet face many shared challenges and possibilities to learn from and with one another – should encourage governments, health workers, academics and others to pursue mutual learning and consensus building to collectively understand and address sick health and care systems. A fundamental paradigm shift is needed if health systems are to be equipped to address complex and interconnected health and development challenges.
The vision for HSR2020 is that it will be a catalytic platform for sharing knowledge and experiences, raising awareness and advocating for change, building capacity, and developing partnerships for action to break old silos and re-orient health systems to address public health and engage the political, social, and environmental forces that perpetuate health inequities and social injustices.
A key dimension of building such a platform will be through genuine engagement from a diversity of policymakers, practitioners, researchers, advocates, educators and citizens concerned with the multiplicity of issues and disciplines that shape human health, including health systems, humanitarian health, social protection, environmental sustainability and climate change, data science, ethics, political economy, social science, media, and many more.
Contribute to HSR2020
Contribute to this important global gathering, 14 months on from the UN High-Level Meeting on UHC, by submitting:
- individual abstracts for the scientific programme (deadline 6 February);
- proposals for skills building sessions to develop the expertise of participants (deadline 6 February);
- and/or multimedia abstracts, including short films, animations, photo essays, virtual reality experiences, or other forms of multimedia (deadline 6 March).
Please see HSR2020’s abstracts page for further information about how to submit.