Representing Members and Championing for Universal Health Coverage
On September 21, Jennifer Austin, GlobalSkin CEO attended the 2023 UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) at the United Nations in New York. You can read the UHC Declaration here.
For Jennifer, being among presidents, prime ministers and health ministers from all around the world reinforced the absolute necessity of strong primary health care being the key to Universal Health Coverage. Humanity must have access to the care they need, when and where they need it, without it causing financial hardship. While there is much work to do to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) goals, it is evident that governments and civil society can do this together.
While at the UN, Jennifer also attended the Rare Diseases International official side meeting on "Engaging the UN System and Member States to Achieve UHC for PLWRD: A Blueprint for Leaving No One Behind". The event was co-organized with the NGO Committee for Rare Diseases, EURORDIS-Rare Diseases Europe, and Federación Española de Enfermedades Raras (FEDER). She connected with fellow dedicated dermatology patient advocates: Antoine Gliksohn - Global Albinism Alliance, Vlasta Zmazek - Debra Croatia, Frida Dunger Johnsson - IFPA, and Kathleen Gallant – IFPA.
Congratulations to Rare Diseases International and EURORDIS for hosting an excellent side event!
Groundbreaking Statement at the United Nations in New York
On September 21, 2023, the United Nations hosted a High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage.
As part of the preparation for that meeting, the UN hosted a Multi-Stakeholder Hearing on Universal Health Coverage in New York on May 9. This was an opportunity for civil society to participate in the ongoing preparatory process so that nation states are fully briefed going into the High-Level Meeting.
GlobalSkin applied to participate, which included submitting a statement on skin diseases as they pertain to universal health coverage. This application was accepted and with this Jennifer traveled to New York to represent GlobalSkin’s more than 230 dermatology patient organizations. Jennifer among a small number of other NGO representatives had the privilege to deliver the statement live on the floor of the hearing. View the two-minute statement here.
WHO’s First Global Meeting on Skin NTDs
On March 27-31, 2023, GlobalSkin and Members (Global Albinism Network, Footwork: The International Podoconiosis Initiative, and IPPF (virtually) participated in the World Health Organization’s first global meeting on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) of the skin – the first formal WHO event focused on skin diseases that we know of. This focus on skin is a key entry point for GlobalSkin, and by extension our member organizations, to formally advocate to the WHO on prioritizing our diseases in health care systems and programs.
Our organization was seated at the main inner round table of the meeting, along with several patient-focused NGOs. This was a tangible demonstration of the WHO’s commitment to giving voice to the patient experience in policy dialogue.
GlobalSkin hosted an official introductory side meeting on day one to explain who GlobalSkin is and what we do. We met patient advocates, researchers, and health policy officials working in the area of skin NTD’s and made important connections. During the week, our CEO Jennifer Austin had the opportunity to present to assembly delegates on how Patient Organizations can be Partners in optimal health care.
We also had an e-poster displayed on the GRIDD project. These topics generated some excellent discussion and interest.
Building Relationships with the WHO
Following our successful time in Geneva this spring, GlobalSkin invited Dr. Jose Antonio Postigo-Ruiz, Medical Officer from the Neglected Tropical Diseases Department of the World Health Organization to attend and present at our recent GlobalSkin ELEVATE 2023 Conference. The enthusiasm and passion of our alliance that was so clearly demonstrated at the conference made an enormous impression on Dr. Postigo and his colleagues in the NTD Department.
GlobalSkin is now in early conversations with partners to learn how we can pursue a resolution at the WHO on skin diseases. We are thrilled to have the ear of the WHO and are working hard to demonstrate the unmet needs of our community with this influential global agency.