Dr Justin Koonin appointed co-chair of international health body


ACON President Dr Justin Koonin has been appointed co-chair of the international movement for accelerating equitable and sustainable progress towards universal health coverage, UHC2030.

Universal health coverage (UHC) means ensuring that all people have access to needed health services (including prevention, promotion, treatment, rehabilitation and palliation) of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user the financial hardship. UHC is enshrined as a key goal within the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, and is a priority within the World Health Organisation’s five-year strategy.

UHC2030 is a global stakeholder platform which brings together a wide range of voices and perspectives for the common goal of achieving UHC , sustaining momentum around UHC commitments, and promotes shared and collective action. The UHC Secretariat is co-hosted by the World Health Organization, World Bank and OECD.

Prior to his appointment as co-chair, Dr Koonin served as a member of UHC2030’s Steering Committee. Dr Koonin will serve alongside co-chair Ms Gabriela Cuevas Barron, Member of Parliament at the Mexican Congress and Honorary President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union

Already well-versed in global action on improving access to health coverage universally, Dr Koonin is also co-chair of the WHO-hosted Social Participation Technical Network, co-chair of the SDG3 Global Action Plan Civil Society Advisory Group, and civil society representative to the Access to COVID Tools Accelerator and the Health Data Collaborative Stakeholder Representative Group.

President of ACON since 2015, he is also a former chair of the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, the leading advocacy body for gay and lesbian people in the state.

Speaking to his appointment, Dr Koonin said that during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, when at least half of the world’s population lacked access to essential health services, ensuring that the goals of UHC are achieved is an urgent priority for the global community.

“We are at an extraordinary moment in global health. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed all the inequities which keep us from achieving health for all. At the same time, it has given us the opportunity to rebuild our health systems differently, and the determination to ensure that we build bridges across geographies and sectors in doing so,” Dr Koonin said.

“We will only be successful if all of us – communities and civil society, governments, multilateral organisations, philanthropists, the private sector – pull our weight. I am thrilled to be able to serve UHC2030 in this capacity, to continue to work alongside the extraordinary people joining forces in the UHC movement, and to placing justice at the heart of health.”

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said Dr Koonin’s appointment was significant not only for the inclusion of LGBTQ communities in global health movements, but also Australia.

“To have an LGBTQ Australian appointed to such an important global leadership role is an outstanding achievement. It guarantees that our experiences, goals and expertise are able to contribute to the global movement to grant everyone, wherever they are, access to quality health services, which is a fundamental human right. Given the pandemic and the need for vaccines to be universally accessible, UHC could not be a more pressing issue.” Parkhill said.

“It is particularly significant to have a community representative in a leadership role like this. The role of communities as equal partners in health movements gained momentum during the HIV/AIDS movement of the 1980s and 90s, and remains critical as the world responds to COVID-19.

“Dr Koonin is a strong advocate for the people and communities which ACON serves, and has been crucial to the development and implementation of ACON’s strategic direction, demonstrating tremendous leadership over the years.

“He will bring his considerable experience in health, advocacy and policy development to this position, and ACON is thrilled to have a member of our family appointed to a role strives to ensure no one is left behind when it comes to health.”

Source: Media Release 


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