Japan pledges $2.9 billion to support countries pursuing universal health coverage
Japan will contribute about $2.9 billion to programs combating infectious disease and treating young
children in developing countries that are pursuing universal health coverage, Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe said Thursday at an international forum on the topic in Tokyo.
Universal health coverage
— ensuring that every person can obtain the health care services they need without suffering
financial hardship — is part of the sustainable development goals U.N. members aim to achieve by 2030.
Abe made the announcement alongside U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and world leaders
attending the Universal Health Coverage Forum, which was organized by the Japanese government and
international organizations including the World Bank and World Health Organization.
“We will give our all to building a global framework to promote UHC, together with Secretary-General
Guterres and other world leaders,” Abe said.
Abe also proposed a new interim universal health coverage target
— that 1 billion more people will be able to receive basic health services by 2023.
At present the WHO aims to ensure by 2030 that 80 percent of the population of developing countries have
access to basic health services, and that no one falls into poverty due to out-of-pocket expenses on health care.
Guterres praised Japan’s funding commitment and called for further integration, suited to
each country’s needs, between the public and private sectors, to combat the “gross inequity” that
persists in health care.
“Out-of-pocket spending on health causes an estimated 100 million people to fall below the poverty line
every year, and in an increasingly interconnected world, an evolving global health landscape gives rise to new threats,” Guterres said.
The U.N. General Assembly will hold a high-level meeting on universal health coverage next year, and has
declared Dec. 12 Universal Health Coverage Day.
Senegalese President Macky Sall, Myanmar President Htin Kyaw and WHO Director-General Tedros
Adhanom Ghebreyesus were among participants in the forum, each underscoring the importance of
countries making a commitment to health systems that reach underserved people.
“It takes unwavering political commitment because it is a political choice, but the price is a healthier,
safer and fairer world for all people,” Tedros said.
Abe said Japan can contribute to other countries its particular experience with health coverage for
He also announced that Tokyo will host a nutrition forum in 2020 on ensuring a stable food supply.