UN Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage: the importance of Occupational Health

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On September 23, ICOH Secretary-General Prof. Sergio Iavicoli participated in the High-Level Meeting at the United Nations, for the adoption of the UN Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage by Heads of State and Government.

As declared by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General at WHO, “This declaration represents a landmark for global health and development”. ICOH has been involved throughout the drafting process and proposed the inclusion of occupational health in the declaration.

We are grateful to all those in ICOH and WHO HQ who worked on this, and particularly to Dr Ivan Ivanov (WHO) and to the Assistant Director General Ranieri Guerra who has been very sensitive to workers health.

We are pleased to confirm that the declaration has been approved with ICOH proposals included, see below:

- paragraph 38: "Scale up efforts to promote healthier and safer workplaces and improve access to occupational health services, noting that more than 2 million people die every year from preventable occupational diseases and injuries”

- paragraph 64: "Take necessary steps at the country level to protect health workers from all forms of violence, attacks, harassment and discriminatory practices, and to promote their decent and safe working environment and conditions at all times as well as ensure health workers’ physical and mental health by promoting policies conducive to healthy lifestyles”

The declaration also includes other items that are relevant to occupational health. The full text is available at the UHC2030 website https://www.uhc2030.org/news-events/uhc2030-news/political-declaration-for-the-un-high-level-meeting-meeting-on-uhc-555296/

We welcome this achievement as an important outcome of our efforts over these years. The ICOH community will continue to support the UN agencies and WHO for the implementation of action to advance universal health coverage.