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How Zambian Sexual and Reproductive Health Advocates are Accelerating Progress on Universal Health Coverage Financing

Country-level momentum around universal health coverage (UHC) is receiving increasing attention by health and rights advocates globally. While the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) community works to navigate the specifics of UHC and understand the implications for enabling women and girls’ universal access to SRHR, country-level UHC policy processes continue to move forward, often without deliberate engagement with civil society organizations (CSOs)—including the engagement of SRHR CSOs—even though these policies have direct impact on women’s and girls’ rights and their access to critical services.

In late 2018, PAI and the Centre for Reproductive Health and Education (CRHE) joined efforts to respond to the Zambian government’s fast-tracked health financing policy in support of UHC. At the heart of the engagement was the understanding that the design and implementation of this major policy reform would have ramifications for the affordability, availability, equity and quality of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and commodities, including family planning.

The Zambian government had announced a plan to launch the UHC scheme in January 2019, yet, both the financing policy process and opportunities for engagement were unclear to SRHR CSOs. Recognizing the short policy timeline, PAI worked with CRHE to provide technical analysis and support, convene a group of stakeholders and identify areas for CSO engagement with the Ministry of Health (MOH) in the remaining decision-making process and post-2019 implementation.

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