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Global health advocacy 2022 in review

News Health care

Health is a basic human right. Quality health care should be accessible to everyone, everywhere. Yet, 50% of the world’s population still does not have access to basic health care, according to the World Health Organisation.

Doctor at a health centre in Kinshasa, which receives funding from Cordaid for TB and HIV treatment.
A doctor at a health centre in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which receives funding from Cordaid for TB and HIV treatment. Image: Lisa Murray/Cordaid

Cordaid’s advocacy programme, Global Health Global Access, aims to increase the support of the Dutch government towards achieving health for all. Let’s have a look at the highlights of 2022.

Dutch population wants to expand global health support

Throughout 2022, Cordaid studied the public’s support for health-related topics. One of the findings: despite the worries and challenges in people’s minds on an array of current issues, achieving health for all still remains a priority for many.

2022 started off rocky, with the introduction of COVID-19’s omicron variant. The world still had global health on top of its mind. As months went by, the number of cases decreased and so did the political and public attention to the virus. Other crises arose, like the war in Ukraine, skyrocketing inflation, ravaging floods in Pakistan, and the protests in Iran, to name only a few. Yet, the majority of the Dutch population is still in favour of more support for global health.

Results & Indicators

  • 70% of the respondents in favour of investing more in vaccine research and development (February 2022)

  • 60% believes that we should invest more in health systems in low-income countries (March 2022)

  • 70% agree that quality health care should be accessible to all (August 2022)

Dutch civil society advocating together for global health

Last year, more civil society organisations joined forces to advocate for global health. The Dutch Global Health Alliance grew significantly and welcomed 7 new members to its cohort.

There is strength in a unified voice. The alliance has been recognised as a key stakeholder by the government in the development of the global health strategy. In 2023, the Dutch Global Health Alliance will increasingly engage with international partners to develop accountability mechanisms and ensure that the strategies will truly lead up to #HealthForAll.

Cordaid has been an active member since its foundation in 2020 and chairs the alliance since 2021.

Advocating for a global health strategy that leaves no one behind

The Netherlands published its long-anticipated strategy in October 2022. Working closely with the 18 organisations of the Dutch Global Health Alliance, Cordaid has continuously provided input. 

“This strategy is a positive first step”, says Rosana Lescrauwaet, Global Health Advocacy Officer for Cordaid. “The next step for the Netherlands is to turn words into deeds. As it is now, the strategy lacks clear implementation plans and accountability mechanisms.”

Cordaid published an analysis highlighting seven recommendations to strengthen the strategy. We will continue to monitor the process in 2023.

Watch our webinar with the Clingendael Institute on the role of the Netherlands in global health:

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Drawing lessons from COVID-19

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caught the world off-guard. Cordaid has always been advocating for a health system-strengthening approach to better prepare the world against epidemics and pandemics.

Two years later, the Netherlands did indeed shift its attention to epidemic and pandemic preparedness, especially paying attention to healthcare systems. The pandemic made clear that “no one is safe until everyone is safe”. Health is a global issue that requires a global perspective.

Cordaid has been advocating for system-based approaches to health, in order to achieve health for all.  

Bringing climate change into the global health agenda

Taking climate action is about more than protecting the environment. It’s also about protecting people’s health. 2022 showed an increasing interest in the linkages between health and climate change. The Netherlands made One Health a central topic of its global health strategy. And the WHO also dedicated World Health Day to planetary health.

Cordaid is increasingly advocating for incorporating climate resilience into the health system strengthening programmes. In 2023, we are partnering with the media platform Devex on a special edition that addresses climate impacts from a health perspective.

Watch our webinar with the Clingendael Institute on addressing global health in a changing climate:

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Tackling the world’s deadliest epidemics

In 2022, Cordaid partnered with Aidsfonds and KNCV (the tuberculosis foundation) to increase Dutch political support for the Global Fund. The Global Fund is an international partnership that aims to end the spread of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria by strengthening health systems. For their 7th replenishment, they need a total of 18 billion dollars to tackle the world’s three deadliest epidemics.

In September 2022, the Dutch government pledged 180 million euros to the mission. While that pledge is 15.4% more than the last contribution from the Netherlands in 2019, it is still well below the 30% increase that is needed to repair the damage caused by COVID-19. As such, Cordaid continues awareness-raising efforts on the Global Fund in the Netherlands.

Cordaid and Oxfam Novib monitoring the Netherlands’ aid budget 

Together with Oxfam Novib, Cordaid is advocating for the Netherlands to restore its commitment to development cooperation, and to allocate more funds to its Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget. As a benchmark, we look to the United Nations agreement that high-income countries should be contributing 0.7% of their Gross National Income to ODA.

In 2022, the government announced that ODA would rise to 0,65% by 2025. Yet, investments for global health have been lowered compared to investments made in 2021, because of lower contributions to COVID-19 instruments. 

Cordaid and Oxfam Novib created a 3-page analysis of the Netherlands’ current ODA allocations.

This programme has been funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since 2017.