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Cordaid NL
Global Health

Global Health, Global Access

Increasing Dutch support for healthy lives and human dignity for everyone everywhere.

Do you believe health is a human right? Do you believe people should not be pushed into poverty for accessing health services? Do you believe in a world in which everyone can live, healthy, productive lives regardless of who they are and where they live? Then you believe in Universal Health Coverage.

What is Universal Health Coverage?

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) guarantees that all people and communities have access to quality health services while ensuring that accessing these services does not push them into financial hardship. By achieving UHC, it focuses on the common good, human dignity, and social justice.

The project ‘Global Health, Global Access’

Without more substantial and more effective investments in health systems and services, it will be impossible to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-Being) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. If we want to provide access to good quality and affordable health services for all world citizens in 2030, wealthy countries like the Netherlands need to increase their Official Development Assistance (ODA) and allocate a considerable part of their financial support towards global health. This is one of the key advocacy objectives of Global Health, Global Access.

Strong, resilient health systems are a critical component towards attaining the proposed targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically in low-income and fragile settings. On the other hand, poorly functioning health systems significantly cripple countries’ progress towards global health targets as the interventions do not reach the people who need them.

In 2019, the project started its second phase. Click here to know more about its activities and thematic areas during this phase. 


More commitment to global health

Since 1970, the international donor community has committed to spending 0.7% of its Gross National Income (GNI) as Official Development Assistance. Until 2010, the Netherlands had adhered to this commitment, or in some years even spent more than 0.8% GNI. Yet in recent years, the Dutch government has gradually reduced its ODA.

“Universal Health Coverage can solely be realized if we strengthen health systems in collaboration between public and private actors, and with a structured focus on engaging individuals and communities.”

Jos Dusseljee, Senior Health System Strengthening Expert

Raising awareness and gaining political support

Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG3) is called ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’. This international commitment is part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was agreed by the international community in 2015. Together with the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Agenda of the WHO, these are the overarching reference frameworks of Global Health Global Access. In order to achieve the ambitious goal of ‘leaving no one behind’, it is necessary to step up donor efforts in support of global health.

Universal Health Coverage can solely be realized if we strengthen health systems in collaboration between public and private actors, and with a structured focus on engaging individuals and communities”, says Jos Dusseljee, Cordaid’s Senior Health System Strengthening Expert. “The Dutch Government is strongly encouraged to embrace the call for global health and global health access through marked efforts to strengthen health systems.”

Through a combination of public awareness and policy influencing actions, the Global Health Global Access project aims to raise awareness and rally public and political support among policymakers, Cordaid’s own constituency, and the general public. Our campaign actions focus on raising public understanding regarding the need for development assistance, its impact on poor and vulnerable communities, and in particular on their health needs.

Our advocacy messages are:

  • The Dutch government should restore its 0,7% GNI commitment to Official Development Assistance and a 0,1% GNI commitment to global health.
  • Adopting a Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) approach, under the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agenda, is critical to achieving sustainable SRHR outcomes; it ensures access to quality services that are responsive to the needs of the community and reach the most vulnerable and marginalized i.e. women and children.
  • Investments in health that move beyond the narrow SRHR focus make a huge impact on people’s lives in both fragile and conflict-affected state and in our own societies.

After completing its first phase successfully, the project started its second phase from 2019. You will find more information on its second phase and relevant updates in the link here.

Advocacy & Communication tools

Published articles


UHC Week 2018
Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day), commemorated annually on December 12, is the anniversary of the first unanimous United Nations resolution calling for countries to provide affordable, quality health care to every person, everywhere. This year, UHC 2018 is about protecting the progress we’ve made and continuously holding leaders accountable to our shared goal: Health for All. Cordaid will use this important global opportunity to organize an entire UHC Week, from December 10 to 14, 2018.

Session on UHC hosted by Cordaid during World of Health Care
On Thursday 27 September 2018, a Cordaid delegation participated in the World of Healthcare ‘congresstival’, an event which brought together over 700 Dutch and international visitors from the Life Sciences & Health sectors worldwide, representing industry, governments, knowledge institutes, NGOs and healthcare providers. Cordaid hosted two tables at the World Café on Universal Health Coverage (UHC): How to achieve Universal Health Coverage? What are the biggest challenges? What are the most innovative approaches to overcome those challenges?

Follow the pill
Cordaid produced the short movie ‘Follow the Pill’, which demonstrates without a doubt what it actually means to ensure access to healthcare in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), from Kinshasa all the way to a remote village near Kisangani. The film has been selected to be presented at the International AIDS conference in Amsterdam in July 2018.


Parliament exposure visit to Ethiopia and Uganda
Inspired by Cordaid’s initiative to organize an exposure visit, the standing committee on Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation decided to visit Ethiopia and Uganda during their planned summer recess trip from July 8 to 15, 2018. In Addis Ababa, Cordaid organized a morning program for the Members of Parliament on the added value of international aid for health system strengthening, displaying programs on both Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, and Performance-based Financing.

Global Health Cafés
Between November 2017 and March 2018, Cordaid co-organized a series of Global Health Cafés, with the aim to raise awareness on global health issues and facilitate engaging discussions between NGOs, experts, and politicians. The series kicked off in Amsterdam, with Green Left MP and SDG3 ambassador Corrinne Ellemeet participating in a 100-person event addressing the issue of human resources for health. Others have addressed critical topics, e.g. financing health in lower- and middle-income countries, how to reach adolescents in the SRHR-agenda, and the increasing interconnectedness between fragility and global health threats.

What does UHC mean to you?
Cordaid produced a short movie asking the citizens of the Central African Republic (CAR) what Universal Health Coverage means to them. This is what people answered in the Central African Republic:


Almost 8.000 kilometers north from the CAR we went out into the streets to with the same question. This is what people answered in The Hague. Go to the settings at the bottom of the video to turn on English subtitles.

UHC Day 2017
On UHC day 2017, Cordaid hosted public events in 7 countries: Afghanistan, Burundi, DRC, Ethiopia, CAR, South-Sudan and the Netherlands. In each country, we adopted a similar, conference-type of event to allow us to organize a local debate involving an interesting mix of policy makers, CSOs, academics and the private sector. On the same day, using the same banner and slogan: UHC now!