Health and Medical Care

The 70th UN General Assembly Side Event: "The Path towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC)"

September 29, 2015
Japanese

  1. At the 70th UN General Assembly, Japan hosted a side event titled "The Path towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC): Promotion of Equitable Global Health and Human Security in the Post-2015 Development Era". This event took place in a UN conference room starting at 10:30 a.m. (11.30 p.m. Japan time) on Monday, September 28th, and lasted approximately 100 minutes. The event was co-hosted by Liberia, Senegal, Thailand, France, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund), WHO and the World Bank. At this side event, every participant expressed their support to the area of health, and emphasized the importance of strengthening health systems and achieving universal health coverage (UHC) under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In the opening session, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that the two major challenges in global health were; 1) strengthening global health governance to better respond public health emergencies, and 2) achieving UHC. Prime Minister Abe also expressed Japan's willingness to address these challenges drawing on its experience and expertise, based on the "Basic Design for Peace and Health" which was approved by the Headquarters for Healthcare Policy on September 11th. Prime Minister Abe also noted that in order to address the two key areas stated above, it was necessary for the international community to establish an alliance, and he expressed Japan's intention to take a leading role in international discussions related to the issues.
  2. In the session 1, with the focus on how UHC will be able to reduce health risks in the developing countries and the role to be played by donors in promoting UHC, the following leaders made remarks: H.E. Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia; H.E. Mr. Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand; H.E. Dr. Awa Marie CollSeck, Minister of Health and Social Action of the Republic of Senegal; Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO); Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); and Ms. Anne Marie Descotes, Director-General for Globalization, Development and Partnerships of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the French Republic. The participants stressed that by promoting UHC, it leads to reducing health risks such as outbreak of the Ebola virus disease, as well as to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  3. In the session 2, the panel discussion was held on the theme of UHC as a mechanism to address wide-ranging health issues from three major infectious diseases, maternal and child health, to non-communicable diseases. The panel consisted of the following members: Assistant Minister of Health H.E. Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah, Deputy Minister of Health of the Republic of Liberia; President Dr. Akihiko Tanaka, President of JICA; Ms. Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven, Director-General for Global issues of German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development; Mr. Keith Hansen, Vice President of the World Bank; Mr. Magdy Martinez-Soliman, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Ms. Fatoumata Ndiaye, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF); Ms. Deborah Dugan, Chief Executive Officer of (RED); and Ms. Maurine Murenga, a Global Fund Advocates Network (GFAN) member. The panelists discussed their efforts to achieve UHC and strengthen health systems, and as well as the impact those endeavors have in relation with activities of each government, agency, and the general public.
  4. Finally, Dr. Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund delivered closing remarks, expressing his gratitude to Prime Minister Abe for organizing the event as well as his commitment to improving health. He commented that UHC is essential to the realization of human security as it underpins the SDGs; without healthy and educated people, there can be no way to solve poverty and environmental problems. He also stressed the importance of the upcoming events taking place in Japan: the Global Fund's Replenishment Preparatory Meeting in December 2015; the G7 Ise-Shima Summit in 2016; and the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in 2016.