Japan promises billions of dollars for access to essential health care

19 Dec 17

Japan has pledged $2.9bn for people in developing countries to have access to essential health care, the prime minister Shinzo Abe has announced. 

Shinzō Abe

The funds will help programmes combating infectious disease and treating young children in developing countries that are pursuing universal health coverage (UHC), Abe [pictured] told an international health forum in Tokyo on Thursday last week. 

Universal health coverage is one of the United Nation’s sustainable development goals.

Abe said: “We will give our all to building a global framework to promote UHC, together with secretary-general Guterres and other world leaders.”

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres was also attending the Universal Health Coverage Forum.

The forum was organised by the Japanese government and international organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Bank.

The prime minister also said that by 2030, 1 billion more people should be able to receive basic health services.

At present, WHO is working towards ensuring that 80% of the population in developing countries have access to basic health services by 2030.

Guterres, who praised Japan for its leadership in demonstrating the power of UHC, said at the forum: “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.”

Japan’s prime minister has pledged to invest more in the so-called ‘human capital’ in the recent months.

He said in October he would make education and childcare a priority over fiscal reforms, including introducing free pre-school for all children between the age of three and five.

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