Japan has pledged US$2.9 billion assistance towards promoting swift progress in achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in various countries.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has disclosed that through the package, his country will support efforts of countries and organisations in strengthening momentum towards UHC by the year 2030 among other initiatives.
Mr. Abe made these remarks in Tokyo, Japan when he officially opened the UHC forum 2017, which has attracted global leaders, parliamentarians and players in the health sector.
Zambia’s National Assembly is being represented by Bwana Mukubwa Member of Parliament Jonas Chanda.
The Director Policy Analysis and Coordination at Cabinet Office Crusivia Hichikumba is also present at the forum.
The Prime Minister said securing sustainable financial resources for UHC is an urgent task.
“It is important for each government, not only health Ministries but finance ministries, to mobilize resources in a stable manner and to complement them with international assistance in an effective manner,” he said.
The Prime Minister said there is also need for individual countries to establish and strengthen platforms to promote cooperation by making cross-sectoral efforts, covering fields such as nutrition, water and sanitation.
“These platforms will support the development of plans and capacity building needed to achieve UHC in individual countries through organic cooperation among stakeholders, including international organisations, development partners and private-sector players under the ownership of the governments,” Mr. Abe said.
Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said gross inequities continue to leave the most vulnerable behind without access to affordable and in many cases unavailable health services.
He disclosed that out of pocket spending for health causes an estimated 100 million people fall below the poverty line every year.
And the World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Tedro Ghebreyesus noted that the UHC strategy has the potential to provide the world’s population access to essential health services if well implemented by all countries.
Dr. Ghebreyesus said at least half the world’s population still does not have access to health services such as having a skilled birth attendant, vaccinations for children or treatment for HIV.
Speaking at the same event, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the way global health is being financed is broken, with domestic resource mobilization failing.
And Bwana Mukubwa Member of Parliament Jonas Chanda who is also the Chairperson for African Parliamentarians Association on Population and Development-Zambia, described the forum as a good platform where participants have learnt best practices in ensuring access to quality and affordable health services.
Dr. Chanda said he is happy that the Zambian government is taking steps that will help the country achieve Universal Health Coverage.
He said government’s decision to present the National Health Insurance Bill to parliament is a good move that will see more people access quality health care.
Dr. Chanda added that there are huge benefits for the country, if focus is emphasized on the health sector especially that Zambia has a huge young population.
The is contained in a statement released to ZANIS by First Secretary for Press at the Zambian Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, Yotamu Mugara.