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Strengthening the role of civil society for health-policy action in the Commonwealth: a blog journey

Posted on 15/05/2019
By Radhika Shrivastav

Blog entry one: the week ahead…

The coming week (May 15-19, 2019) promises to be an enriching and empowering experience for me with three back-to-back meetings facilitated by the Commonwealth Foundation: a Learning Exchange focussing on ‘Accountability in health policy and service provision’; a Civil Society Policy Forum on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and; the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting. These meetings are innovative platforms to convene multi-sectoral stakeholders from Commonwealth countries to discuss and exchange our experiences in implementing projects that address critical health and developmental issues. What makes this a unique journey is the opportunity for us to be able to inform and cascade the insights and outcomes from one meeting to another, synthesising perspectives of civil society actors and policy-related stakeholders, with a potential to strategically position our priorities at the highest level of health-related policy making, at the ministerial meeting.

UHC is a common thread which strings together international, national and sub-national policy and programmatic responses to the entire spectrum of public health and developmental issues, including the focus of HRIDAY’s project in India on civil society engagement in the national response to Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). The meetings have been conceived in a participatory manner and are designed to garner multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder insights on robust strategies to address these issues, within the available resource pool. The focus on holding key players accountable to their roles, is an important cross-cutting theme that we hope to deliberate on.

I look forward to hearing from fellow grant partners, about their successes and challenges, and identify opportunities for adapting effective strategies for our ongoing project on working with health and development civil society partners to track India’s NCD targets.

I am hopeful that this experience will help us to explore stronger pathways and mechanisms to participate in health policy-related decision making in our respective countries, regions, the Commonwealth and even globally.

Blog entry two: thoughts during the exchange:

A final, post-event blog entry is coming soon…