A Bottom-Up Approach to Advancing UHC: Voices, Stories, Opportunities

Meeting Organizer

CMB Foundation

Equity Initiative

Contact Person : Kanokrat Thomthong,

29 January 2020
14:00 - 17:30 hrs.
Venue : Lotus Suite 7

Open to All Participants


Health inequity is an intractable problem and requires multi-sectoral action. Despite repeated calls for such multi-sectoral action, examples of whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches continue to be limited. Rasanathan et al in 2018 suggested 7 strategies to scale up multi-sectoral action. What would we see if we examined UHC from the bottom-up, from the lens and experiences of communities, looking through the eyes of vulnerable populations whose hurdles to universal health coverage overlap with risks to life and limb? The Equity Initiative (EI) is a program fostering collaboration of emerging leaders in Southeast Asia and China towards health equity. Fellows have championed improvements in public health, justice, gender, and accessibility, many directly serving the most vulnerable and at-risk populations. Their concerns deeply intersect with the goal of making universal health coverage (UHC) a right enjoyed by all. In order to make the link to UHC more explicit, and the effects more tangible, this session explores the context, stories, and equity lessons from communities EI Fellows have served, paired with high-level insight from system experts, bringing two poles of dialogue into one room. The objective of the session is to support a UHC movement that engages structures with a deep sensitivity to the experiences of the community. Scholars, policy makers, managers and frontline health workers are welcome to join the session, which will culminate in a brainstorming cum networking session on how various bottom-up initiatives of fellows can intersect, inform, deepen, and collaborate with system approaches. This side session will connect leaders in academia, civil society, governments and healthcare organizations working with various disadvantaged groups to build on the work of the EI fellows in advancing UHC and explore opportunities for scale up and/or regional community building. It is our hope that such a dialogue would better connect the lofty goals of UHC with the ground realities faced by the communities at risk, including PWDs, LGBTQ+ individuals, exploited children, and others.


a. Regain a historical perspective of UHC’s roots and nuances, including “Health for All.” b. Discuss the issue of Accelerating Progress Toward UHC for at-risk or vulnerable communities / populations, from the bottom-up, with examples drawn from EI fellows’ work, and the work of others in the EI network; content will include vignettes, lessons, roadblocks and challenges in addressing UHC and equity concerns among at-risk or vulnerable communities. c. Crowdsource ways forward: how existing initiatives can be used as an entry point for broader UHC reforms. d. Facilitate networking among frontline workers, advocates, researchers, policy makers