Strengthening health for all – What works in a world in poly-crisis and uncertainty?

Learning from success stories and promising failures

The networks Emerging Voices for Global Health, Health Systems Global Africa Regional Network and Be-cause health are launching a Call for Crowdsourcing.

Deadline extended: 8 January 2024

Call for short stories of success or promising failure

We invite researchers, health workers, health practitioners, policy makers, health activists, members of grassroot organisations, etc. to submit a pitch for presentation and/or publication (format to be decided) of short stories of success or promising failure in global health to be disseminated at the European Union (EU) event on Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) on April 23, 2024. (The EU event on HSS is part of a series of activities on health justice linked to the Belgian presidency of the European Union in 2024.)

After the EU event we aim to draw upon theses learnings and conclusions to compile a declaration which reaffirms the right to Health for All in the current context of poly-crisis and uncertainty. The declaration should be internationally supported as widely as possible by academic and civil actors, policy makers and governments.


Our planet is reaching its social, economic, and ecological limits. Climate crisis, warfare, increasing migration, economic turmoil, a debt crisis in many LMICs and a pandemic as well as infodemics, among other things, challenge the emerging responses for the health and health care goals of communities, countries, and international institutions.

Health systems and focused health programs strive to improve the health and well-being of populations. For this they aim to improve the basic health of populations, including better maternal and child health, to serve the needs of populations facing the double burden of infectious and non-communicable, chronic health conditions. They aim to reduce inequities in health, promote universal access to health, quality healthcare and health products, but stand under pressure.

Within this context of uncertainty and poly-crisis the current global health discourse and practice is shaped by several areas of tension. Some of these have been going on for years (however they do stay truly relevant), others are relatively new. We list some of them here, but this list is by no means exhaustive:

  • Horizontal health programs (focus on primary health care / health systems strengthening) – Vertical health programs
  • Short term / closed predefined modalities of funding – Long term/ open and participative modalities of funding
  • Humanitarian assistance – Health systems strengthening in fragile and crisis settings/contexts
  • Post-growth economic thinking – Development (including health systems strengthening) based on more classical economic thinking
  • Health security – A more holistic ‘right to health’ approach
  • Role and position of the healthcare workforce
  • Coloniality – Decolonized global health (including the role of philanthro-capitalism and geopolitical considerations)
  • Social movements towards Health for All – Multi-stakeholder public private partnerships
  • Any other related topic

Today, some 40+ years after the WHO Alma Ata Declaration on Health for All, and 20+ years after the Health Care for All declaration, the networks Be-cause health, Emerging Voices for Global Health and Health Systems Global would like to know how you are coping in your context.

Submission / Pitch

We invite you to pitch successful interventions or brilliant failures on health systems strengthening. The pitch may focus on efforts to strengthen health systems and programs to improve healthcare. Please select one or several areas of tension in global health, and describe what works best (effective and/or promising) in your context. Do not hesitate to suggest any other area of tension.

Submissions should highlight what worked, and what lessons may be relevant to support ongoing and future efforts to achieve the right to health for all.

Pitch length: maximum 300 words / max. 5 minutes audio / max. 5 minutes video format / max. 5 minutes any other format

Deadline for submission EXTENDED: 8th January 2024.

Selection and follow-up

  • A committee of representatives of the inviting networks will select the pitches suited for presentation and/or publication. Presentations of the success story/promising failure (article/podcast/ video/any other format) will be published and/or presented at the European Union event on HSS April 23, 2024.
  • Deadline for selection: January 31, 2024
  • Presentation length: max. 5000 words / max. 15 minutes podcast / max. 15 minutes video format / max. 15 minutes any other format
  • Deadline for completion of presentation/publication (for selected pitches): 1st March 2024

Selected submissions will be

  • invited to be presented at the HSS EU event on April 23, 2024, during the Belgian presidency of the EU,
  • included in a publication (format to be decided),
  • learnings will contribute to a declaration which reaffirms the right to Health for All in the current context of poly-crisis and uncertainty.