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Focus area


Commonwealth commitments to affordable health care and combating diseases are now in the spotlight as a result of Covid-19. Across the Commonwealth, the pandemic exposed highly varying—often gendered—differences in vulnerability. It also brought to light gross inequalities within and between countries, most especially in relation to access to adequate and affordable health services, medicines and vaccines.

The Covid-19 pandemic also served to confirm that civil society involvement in this issue is critical across multiple fronts. Civil society organisations are vital partners in the delivery of health services. They also play an essential role in monitoring service delivery, exposing problems and challenges, and identifying what is working and what is not. And it is the voice of civil society that is leading discussion, debate and policy formation around the big ideas that will matter in the years ahead: from the links between health and climate change to the practical steps needed to move towards truly universal access to health care.

In response, the Foundation is prioritising health in our grant-making: supporting innovative projects that seek to bring civil society into relevant policy formation and decision-making. We are also bringing creative voices into our work on health and using platforms such as Critical Conversations to spark debate, connection, and action. We will target multilateral forums and appropriate Commonwealth spaces including the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meetings to communicate civil society ideas and positions. Our cross-cutting themes of gender equality and small and vulnerable States feature strongly in our work on health.

Commonwealth Charter XI

Access to health, education, food and shelter

We recognise the necessity of access to affordable health care, education, clean drinking water, sanitation and housing for all citizens and emphasise the importance of promoting health and well-being in combating communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Sustainable Development Goal 3

Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.

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