(Check against delivery)Thank you,
Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to express my appreciation to the organizers, co-sponsors and participants for making this event possible. We have been co-organizing a series of briefings on key areas on UHC with Brazil, the United Nations Foundation and other partners to complement broader briefings by the Group of Friends of UHC that we have created together with many delegations here today. We seek to build momentum for the High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage in September under the co-facilitators, Thailand and Georgia.
Today’s theme, “Harnessing the private sector and innovation to achieve Universal Health Coverage”, is indeed relevant as the role of the private sector and innovation in achieving and sustaining UHC have not necessarily been elaborated. It is also timely, as we build on yesterday’s Multi-stakeholder Hearing on UHC and prepare for the outcome negotiation. Today, I would like to briefly touch upon why we think this area is of critical importance for UHC.
Japan has been managing its universal health coverage system for more than half a century to ensure quality and affordable healthcare for all our citizens. We have constantly been upgrading the system by introducing new technologies including diagnostics, drugs, and devices in collaboration with innovative private sector partners, all while ensuring equitable and affordable access. In Japan today, more than 80% of the healthcare providers are private non-profit medical corporations. Japan has also been a keen supporter of public-private partnerships as enablers of UHC including the Global Fund, Gavi, and the GHIT fund. So our experience tells us that UHC can be achieved with the help of private sector partners.
We will however need to further capitalize on innovation for UHC. For instance, by applying AI analytics on big data comprising biometrics, medical and insurance data, we could promote real-time diagnosis and optimize treatment. We could also address access issues by utilizing ICT or drone technologies for remote diagnosis, consultations or delivery.
This is also in line with the concept of “Society 5.0 for the SDGs” that Japan is promoting. “Society 5.0” is a guideline for facilitating STI as a mechanism to fuse cyberspace and physical space in order to bring about a human-centered society that balances economic advancement with the resolution of social problems.
We will maximize every opportunity to promote UHC including at the G20 Osaka Summit in June, as well as the seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD 7, in Yokohama in August, leading up to the High-Level Meeting on UHC in September.
I trust today’s discussion will help unpack and demystify the role of the private sector and innovation in achieving Universal Health Coverage and point us towards an impactful UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on UHC. We look forward to engaging with all of you.
I thank you.