Steering Group representatives from the JLN celebrated the progress of JLN member countries and shared the benefits of the joint learning approach toward health for all at this year's Universal Health Coverage Forum, a historic event to galvanize collective action toward universal health coverage and mark UHC Day, held December 12-15 in Tokyo, Japan. The JLN’s knowledge sharing platform was also recognized as a key mechanism for advancing UHC2030’s objective of strengthening health systems in countries and globally.
The UHC Forum was co-organized by the Government of Japan, JICA, the World Bank Group, WHO, UNICEF and the International Health Partnership for UHC2030 (UHC2030). The Forum aimed to stimulate global and country-level progress towards UHC, including pandemic preparedness, and was attended by Ministers of Health, high-level policymakers and practitioners, nonprofits, civil society organizations, and UHC advocates and champions from around the world.
The UHC Forum presented a high-level opportunity to recognize and demonstrate the progress of JLN member countries to an audience of global stakeholders, and highlight their commitment to advancing UHC within their respective countries, sharing their experiences with other countries to support mutual learning, and contributing to the global UHC body of knowledge by publishing practical guides on how to overcome common technical challenges.
Accelerating UHC Through Joint Learning
As part of the Forum's UHC Day celebrations, the JLN hosted a side session on December 12 on "Accelerating UHC Through Joint Learning: Celebrating UHC Progress with JLN Member Countries.”
As more low- and middle-income countries move toward universal health coverage in a bid to bring access to health services to their citizens, they walk the tightrope of limited budgets and encounter design and technical challenges that hinder progress toward UHC.
Rozita Hussein, JLN Convener and Senior Deputy Director of the Planning Division within the Malaysian Ministry of Health opened the morning session on how JLN countries are making steady and remarkable progress toward their UHC goals through practitioner-to-practitioner learning and co-generation of actionable knowledge on how to implement UHC.
Lydia Dsane-Selby of Ghana’s National Health Insurance Agency, John Ryu of South Korea’s Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, and Rozita Hussein of Malaysia’s Ministry of Health candidly discussed the highs and lows of their UHC journeys and how they leveraged the JLN platform to bridge the knowledge gap between theory and practice and create tools to address real-world challenges.
Dana Hovig, Director of Integrated Delivery at the Gates Foundation, also shared a valuable perspective on the role of joint learning in supporting country’s UHC progress while Somil Nagpal, Health Specialist at the World Bank, was on hand to moderate the lively discussion.
A special highlight of the event was the launch of the Medical Audit Systems Toolkit, a new knowledge product to help UHC practitioners design indicators to improve the quality of patient care and make efficiency gains in their health care systems.
The tool was co-produced by eight countries, including Colombia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria and the Philippines, working in collaboration with South Korea’s Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, which has successfully improved the accountability and transparency of its health insurance system through an extensive ICT-based centralized claim review and assessment.
Impacting Advances in UHC Through Global Linking and Learning
On the final day of the Forum, JLN members met once again for a session on “Impacting Advances in UHC Through Global Linking and Learning." In that session, Steering Group members from Ethiopia, Ghana, Mexico, Nigeria, and the Philippines discussed how the JLN has worked for them, the overarching model of the platform, and how it is contributing to the global movement toward UHC through practical and actionable knowledge.
The JLN’s country-led model for practitioner-to-practitioner learning focuses on the how-tos of implementing health reforms and has a distinctive hold in the global UHC landscape. Over the past several years, the network has significantly expanded its membership and technical topics for joint learning, driven entirely by country demand. The session aimed to showcase the JLN’s learning model and demonstrate how countries have benefited.
Modupe Ogundimu, JLN Co-Convener and General Manager of the National Health Insurance Scheme in Nigeria, opened the session, followed by a detailed introduction to the joint learning approach from Lydia Dsane-Selby of the National Health Insurance Authority of Ghana.
Mideksa Adugna of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health, Adolfo Martínez Valle of Mexico’s Ministry of Health, and Israel Pargas of the Philippines’ Philhealth agency discussed how their respective countries were addressing common UHC challenges through joint learning. Michele Gragnolati from the World Bank shared the Bank’s perspective as one of the longstanding development partners of the network and Stefan Nachuk of the Gates Foundation was on hand to moderate the discussion.
JLN Recognized as an Important Knowledge Platform for UHC
A UHC Forum milestone was the release of UHC2030’s Knowledge Management Strategy, which laid the foundation for supporting countries’ UHC efforts by linking them to responsive and timely implementation knowledge. The strategy, informed by taking stock of existing knowledge management initiatives and the country demand for UHC-related knowledge, identified the JLN as playing an important role in the two pillars of the strategy – serving as a knowledge hub and aligning knowledge engagement with country demand to reduce targeted knowledge gaps.
The findings of the landscaping survey informing the strategy were presented at the UHC Forum by Rozita Hussein, JLN Convener, who also headed the UHC2030 workgroup tasked with developing the knowledge management strategy.
After a historic week at the Forum, where UHC Day was officially recognized by the United Nations, JLN members returned home, invigorated to continue their UHC journeys and collaborative learning efforts in 2018.