Advancing Universal Health Coverage Through Gender Equality

Jump to Guests
Lisa Bayley
Dr Ebere Okereke
Dona Da Costa Martinez
Dr Harjyot Khosa
Dr Rispah Walumbe
Professor Asha Hans
Abi Begho
Rhoda Prevail Tyoden
Date & Time
2:00pm, 28 February 2023 - 3:30pm, 28 February 2023
About the event

This event has taken place. You can watch the recording now.

The promise of Universal Health Coverage is a world in which health systems provide care to everyone, at the point of need and without incurring financial hardship. Some progress is being made in some parts of the Commonwealth. But there have been serious setbacks, not least the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing economic pressures that are being felt in almost every health system.

A persistent issue in securing universal health coverage is gender inequality, specifically: the failure of national health policies to properly reflect the interests and needs of women and girls.

This Roundtable event will provide a select group of civil society representatives with the opportunity to put gender and inclusion at the centre of Commonwealth discussions on Universal Health Coverage.

Why should I join this event?

Those joining the discussion will hear from policy experts in health and meet civil society organisations who advocate for health justice right across the Commonwealth. They will learn how to use the Action Agenda from the UHC Movement for advocacy and, most importantly, they will contribute directly to the formulation of key policy asks that will go to Health Ministers and policymakers within and beyond the Commonwealth. This is the chance for Commonwealth civil society to have its voice heard on an issue that affects all Commonwealth citizens, everywhere.  

The event will feature a short panel followed by a conversation with civil society leaders working directly with communities on health access for women and girls. The final 40 minutes of the event will be a working session to develop key asks and will involve extensive audience input. The discussion will be moderated by Lisa Bayley, a communications specialist at the Pan-American Health Organisation.

By joining this event, you will discover answers to the following questions:

  • Why do gender-sensitive health policies matter?
  • What policies make health systems more equitable and inclusive?
  • How do we build adequate and resilient health systems that are efficient, accessible and equitable?

The Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030 conduct an annual review of the state of UHC at a national level. Their key recommendations from 16 Commonwealth countries from 2021 and 2022 can be found below:

Read key recommendations by the Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030

Photo credit: Morgana Wingard for USAID

Lisa Bayley Moderator
Dr Ebere Okereke Panellist
Dona Da Costa Martinez Panellist
Dr Harjyot Khosa Panellist
Dr Rispah Walumbe Panellist
Professor Asha Hans Panellist
Abi Begho Panellist
Rhoda Prevail Tyoden Panellist
Lisa Bayley

Lisa has worked in various areas of communications in her over 20-year career.  From the Caribbean News Agency where she served as a Studio Engineer, she moved to the Barbados Government Information Service in 1999 and worked in almost every department at the GIS, radio, television, and press.  There she provided communications, public and media relations support to several Ministries.  She has hosted several local and regional television shows and worked as a part-time radio announcer.

Mrs Bayley holds a B.Sc. in Public Sector Management, an Executive Diploma, General Management, a Professional Diploma in Social Media Marketing from the Digital Marketing Institute, and a Master of Public Health.

Passionate about health, she was a member of the National Chronic Disease Commission, and the National Task Force on Physical Activity and offered strategic planning and support for the 2016 Port of Spain Evaluation and Implementation regional, multi-stakeholder workshop to accelerate action on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the Caribbean.

In 2019 she was seconded to the PAHO/WHO Office of the Sub-regional Program Coordination, Caribbean as an International PAHO Consultant.  She is currently the Communications and Visibility Coordinator for a five-Year EU-Funded Climate Change and Health Action for 16 CARIFORUM countries and is the Specialist, Communications for Health Promotion in that department. 

She supports the implementation, coordination, and communication of projects in antimicrobial resistance, sexual and reproductive health, youth engagement, immunization, climate change and NCDs,  mental health prevention strategies, to name a few.

Dr Ebere Okereke

Dr Ebere Okereke is a public health physician with extensive experience in public health policy, strategy and  programme development and implementation. She specialises in global health security, health system strengthening and leadership development who has won awards for her work promoting women and under-represented groups in public health leadership.

Ebere is a Senior Technical Adviser at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and honorary senior public health adviser to the director of Africa CDC. She is a Fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health and an Associate Fellow at Chatham House. She is a graduate of the University of Nigeria College of Medicine.

Dona Da Costa Martinez

Dona is the Deputy Regional Director, International Planned Parenthood Federation – Americas and the Caribbean Region.

Dona began her career in sexual and reproductive health, thirty-eight years ago, when she joined the Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago in 1985.

In her formative years in the Association, she was responsible for research, planning and evaluation and the development of programmes to ensure the achievement of the Association’s mission. In 1987 she coordinated the implementation of Trinidad and Tobago Demographic and Health Survey. From 1990 she served as the Deputy Executive Director of the Association before taking on the mantle of Executive Director in 1999.

Under her stewardship, the Association expanded its work in many other areas with a focus on integrating sexual rights in all of its programmes. This included expansion of its advocacy work in abortion and LGBTQI rights, comprehensive sexuality education, gender-based violence, HIV prevention and ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health services to most at risk populations including adolescents (through the introduction of De Living Room, the only Sexual and Reproductive Health centre in Trinidad and Tobago), migrants, LGBTI persons and sex workers.

She has served as Co-Chair of the Board of the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition, Jamaica, from 2012 – 2022 and as Chair of the Trinidad and Tobago NCD Alliance from 2017 to 2021

Dona is the holder of an Executive Master’s in Business Administration from the Institute of Business, University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago.

Dr Harjyot Khosa

Harjyot Khosa is currently working as Senior Technical Adviser at International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), South Asia Regional Office. Previously, she has worked as a Regional Advocacy Adviser at India HIV/AIDS Alliance. She has managed and coordinated dynamically with sex workers, women who use drugs, LGBTIQ+, people who use drugs, children and young people and PLHIV communities, to strengthen all aspects of SRHR, TB and HIV care, support, prevention programs, across south Asia.

She is currently serving as one of the CSO representatives on the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which is a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. She is also serving as a CSO representative on the Scientific Working Group for the Global Pandemic Preparedness and Response Scheme (I-DAIR).

She holds a doctorate in Psychology and enjoys reading literature in her free time.

Dr Rispah Walumbe

Dr Rispah Walumbe is a Global health specialist with almost a decade of experience in advocacy and healthcare policy at a national, regional, and global level. Her focus and training are in Healthcare Policy and Financing, and currently practices as the Senior Health Policy Advisor at Amref Health Africa where she leads the UHC Delivery Lab and provides technical expertise to the institution’s strategy on health financing and health policy.

Her work in advocacy and technical support includes the advancement of the Universal Health Coverage agenda. She additionally has a background in medicine with training and practice in Kenya predominantly working in rural and low-income urban areas. She has supported, trained,
and mentored over 200 healthcare workers across Kenya in Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care services, and trained over 100 public health practitioners in healthcare policy.

Her recent portfolio includes leading the secretariat for National Hospital Insurance Fund health financing reforms in Kenya for Universal Health Coverage through the Ministry of Health and leading the Secretariat of the AHAIC Commission on the State of UHC in Africa.

Professor Asha Hans

Professor Asha Hans is the former Founder Director of Women’s Studies and Prof of Political Science at Utkal University in India. She is the co-founder and Executive Vice President of Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre (SMRC) . She has worked with the disability movement and organizations on issues of gendered equality, including making disability laws inclusive of gender. As an executive council member of the Indian Association of Women’s Studies (IAWS), a national organization working with Universities, She has been a member of the UN Women’s, Peace and Humanitarian Fund. A prolific writer, her work has recently focused on gender-related mobility in climate change and disability. Her recent publication is Engendering Climate Change Learnings from South Asia, and she has drafted the Government of India National Guidelines on Disaster Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction

Abi Begho

Abi Begho (nee Ajose-Adeogun) is the Director of Program Management at Lake Health and Wellbeing. She manages all projects and the day-to-day running of this small NGO.

She holds a BSc. in Medical Biochemistry from the University of Birmingham, a MSc. in Clinical Biochemistry with Molecular Biology from the University of Surrey and a Masters in Public Health from King’s College London.  She started her career in the pharmaceutical industry working firstly for the biotech company, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and after four years, Abi accepted a position at the multinational Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis where she worked as a Scientific Associate at the Novartis Horsham Research Centre in West Sussex.

Abi is very passionate about giving back to her community and over the years has volunteered with numerous health charities, helped with the development of a mentoring programme and delivered several health awareness presentations to churches and community groups as well as career talks at the science museum in London. She has been recognised for this work having received an award from the MGC GCC for her contribution to health and wellbeing and was nominated for an Active Citizen Award.

Rhoda Prevail Tyoden

Rhoda is a quintessential professional with over 32 years of experience in the legal profession. She graduated from the University of Jos, Plateau State, with a bachelor of law in 1989. She then went to the Nigerian Law School in Lagos and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1990. She obtained a Masters of Law (LL.M) in Comparative and International Dispute Resolution in 2013 at Queens Mary, University of London.

As a volunteer in the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria for over two decades, Rhoda served as Secretary General of FIDA for the Nigeria Abuja Branch (1996), Treasurer of FIDA Nigeria Abuja Branch (2007-2009), National Secretary of FIDA Nigeria (2015-2018) and rose to her current position as Country Vice President/National President of FIDA Nigeria.

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