Mr. Hiroyuki Yamaya, Director of Global Health Policy Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
at a UN event on Universal Health Coverage (UHC)
co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Japan and France to the UN,
in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Thailand, Benin and Chile to the UN
Thank you Ambassador. Allow me now to make a few remarks.
Even as the international community must accelerate its efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), we have already been given the new task of discussing future health strategies and coming to an agreement on a global health agenda beyond 2015.
Today, we face many challenges such as increasing double burden of diseases, the diversification of health needs, and inequality in access to health services. We believe that Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is an important component in combating these challenges.
Universal Health Coverage means ensuring that all people can obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. By this definition, UHC aims to eliminate disparities in access to health services and provide effective health services coverage to the entire population, including and particularly to the most vulnerable people.
Universal Health Coverage would contribute to economic growth as well as to people’s health. Japan achieved rapid economic growth supported by its healthy and highly educated population, and promptly recovered its status as an economic power in the world in the post-war period. Japan’s prosperity today could not have been realized without the good health of its people. Japan is a show case of the successful implementation of Universal Health Coverage.
Some may cast doubts on the feasibility of achieving Universal Health Coverage. But Japan, together with World Bank, has studied the issue and presented its results at the “Global Conference on Inclusive and Sustainable Growth through UHC”, which was held in Tokyo last December. This conference enjoyed the participation of Health Ministers from Asian and African countries, the President of World Bank, high level officials from the WHO and OECD, the Japanese Finance Minister (Mr. Aso), Health Minister (Mr. Tamura), and Vice Foreign Minister (Mr. Kihara), and representatives of academia and civil society.
The conclusion that we drew from our study was that any country at any economic level can expand its basic health services coverage. Universal Health Coverage is within a reach of any country.
Health is a common need for all people in the World. Japan feels obliged to promote Universal Health Coverage in the Post-2015 Agenda because it knows well the fruits that are born by UHC. Japan is determined to support and promote this issue in cooperation with international organizations and civil society. I hope this event will be a good opportunity to arrive at a common understanding of UHC and to dispel any remaining doubts or skepticism concerning it.
Finally, allow me to repeat our sincere gratitude to France for its remarkable efforts to realize this event, as well as our appreciation for the collaboration and cooperation from Thailand, Benin, Chile, the WHO, World Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Thank you very much.