For the People, With the People: Joining Hands & Using Evidence to Advance Social Participation for Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

What: Side event at the 77th World Health Assembly
Where: International Geneva Welcome Centre (CAGI), Route de Ferney 106, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland
When: Tuesday, May 28, 2024 from 13:00-14:00 CEST


Social Participation for Health (SPH)—defined as empowering people, communities, and civil society, through inclusive participation in decision-making processes that affect health—has demonstrated positive impacts in health system reform and is seen as critical on the path to UHC. However, there remain gaps in our understanding of how best to implement SPH across diverse sociopolitical contexts, with attention to the inclusion of communities facing marginalisation. 

Focusing on Argentina, Kenya, Tunisia, and Vietnam, the Social Participation for Health Engagement, Research and Empowerment (SPHERE) consortium is advancing the evidence base on SPH through advocacy-research projects working to (1) document and distil implementation lessons from existing participatory mechanisms, and (2) integrate those lessons to deepen SPH (e.g., through evidence-informed capacity strengthening of relevant actors). SPHERE has also led a global evidence review to discern the nature and impact of strategies for enhancing the inclusiveness of SPH. Looking ahead to the expected adoption of the WHA77 resolution on social participation for universal health coverage, health, and well-being, we will highlight evidence-based guidance for implementing and sustaining meaningful, inclusive SPH, emphasising the critical role of civil society, researchers, and government in collaborating to uphold commitments to and inform the implementation of SPH.

To implement the requests within the resolution, we need solidarity and multi-stakeholder action at the subnational, national, and international levels. Governments and civil society must engage in intergenerational and multi-stakeholder dialogue to share insights and exchange learnings around SPH implementation. Civil society can monitor progress and hold governments accountable for their (in)action, in partnership with researchers employing innovative approaches to help inform, monitor, and evaluate SPH. The event will thus bring together and energise diverse stakeholders to co-implement commitments to SPH following WHA77. 

  • Date: Tuesday 28th May 2024
  • Time: 13:00-14:00 CEST
  • Location: International Geneva Welcome Centre (CAGI), Route de Ferney 106, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland
  • Format: In-person

Event objectives:

  • Inform civil society about country-specific experiences and research evidence on enablers and barriers of meaningful and inclusive social participation in decision-making related to health.
  • Mobilise civil society to build support and coalitions to fulfil commitments at the national and regional levels ahead of the expected adoption of the WHA77 resolution on social participation.
  • Disseminate advocacy tools that have been developed to support civil society actions related to social participation for health for Universal Health Coverage (UHC)


Agenda (all times are displayed in CEST)

  • 13:00-13:05 Welcome and scene setting – Chair, Amy Boldosser-Boesch
  • 13:05-13:10 Update on the WHA resolution on Social Participation for Health – Ms. Nanoot Mathurapote
  • 13:10-13:35 Fire-side chat on country experiences and the evidence base for social participation for health –  Dr Moncef Bel Haj Yahya, Virginia Zalazar, Dr Margaret Lubaale, Khuất Thị Hải Oanh
  • 13:35-13:40 A snapshot of the evidence base on inclusiveness of social participation for health initiatives globally- Shraddha Mishra 
  • 13:40-13:55 Q&A with participants
  • 13:55-14:00 Closing remarks – Amy Boldosser-Boesch


  1. Amy Boldosser-Boesch, Civil Society Engagement Mechanism (CSEM) for UHC2030
  2. Dr Margaret Lubaale, Health NGOs’ Network (HENNET), Kenya
  3. Dr Moncef Bel Haj Yahya, Secretary General of the Tunisian Association for Defense of the Right to Health, Tunisia
  4. Khuất Thị Hải Oanh, Executive Director, The Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives (SCDI), Vietnam
  5. Shraddha Mishra, SPHERE Secretariat, The George Institute for Global Health (TGI)
  6. Virginia Zalazar, Coordinator, Social Research Unit, Fundación Huésped, Argentina 
  7. Kira Koch, Technical Officer, World Health Organization
  8. Ms. Nanoot Mathurapote, Head of Global Collaboration Unit, National Health Commission Office, Thailand

Related updates:

  • Join the ministerial side-evented titled Moving from principles to action on social participation for UHC, health and well-being, taking place on 28 May 2024, 6-8pm CEST. The event is co-hosted by Brazil, France, Norway, Slovenia, Thailand, Tunisia, and the United States of America, in collaboration with the European Health Observatory, the UHC Partnership, UHC2030 and the CSEM for UHC2030. Ministers of Health, Member State delegations and civil society representatives will speak about the importance of social participation in accelerating progress towards UHC, health and well-being; and the priority actions needed to advance social participation implementation, particularly at the country level. 
  • On the sidelines of the WHA, UHC2030 and the CSEM will provide space for civil society to network and discuss advocacy strategies to drive action on UHC at the country level. Learn more here.
  • Use the new civil society toolkit to urge Ministers of Health to show support for the adoption and implementation of the WHA Resolution on social participation for universal health coverage, health and well-being.