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High-level Meeting – Universal Health Coverage as a Tool to Combat Infectious Diseases

Project Period: Contact: Department: Programme: Theme:
30-31 May 2018 Riko KIMOTO Sustainable Development & Public Health ASEF Public Health Network Public Health



Venue:
Tokyo, Japan

 

In 2018, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) Public Health Network and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan are co-hosting a multi-country, High-level Meeting focusing on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in relation to effective management of infectious diseases including possible future pandemic as well as Antimicrobial Resistant (AMR).

The overall aim of this High-level Meeting is to facilitate agreement between governments and other stakeholders on practical actions to ensure access to effective treatment of infectious diseases, while reducing the risk of the emergence of AMR. The specific objectives are:

  • To bring together officials with responsibilities for AMR and UHC and other stakeholders to explore the challenges they face in both ensuring access to antibiotic treatment, when needed, and reducing the risk of AMR; 
  • To identify practical strategies for integrating a concern for AMR into strategies for making progress towards UHC and for taking UHC strategies into account in national action plans for addressing AMR
  • To agree on priorities for international cooperation between Asia and Europe to support an equitable and sustainable approach for addressing the challenge of infectious diseases.

 

Target Audience

The High-level Meeting will address 3 target audiences: 1) Senior-level health officials who are working in the area of UHC and/or AMR and 2) Officials whose duty is related to pandemic preparedness and response 3) Private company representatives who have an involvement in the production, suppy and use of antibiotics. More specifically: 

  • Senior-level officials, advisors, and/or other decision-makers from ASEM Partners’ Ministry of Health or equivalent who work in the area of UHC and/or AMR
  • Chief/directors of ASEM Partners’ national health agencies or equivalent who work in the area of UHC or AMR 
  • Senior-level from ASEM Partners’ Ministries of Finance, and Foreign Affairs  
  • Representatives of international organisations, NGOs 
  • Representatives of private sectors whose work is closely related to AMR, such as pharmaceutical industries

 

Date and Location

This High-level Meeting will take place on 30-31 May 2018 in Tokyo, Japan. 

 

External Cooperation for This Meeting

The planning of this meeting was developed in cooperation with the Coordination Office of Measures on Emerging Infectious Diseases, Cabinet Secretariat, the Government of Japan, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare Japan, and Wellcome Trust.

 

This project is sponsored by the Government of Japan.

Project Updates

  • The Asia-Europe Foundation Public Health Network (ASEF PHN) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of Japan hosted the 10th Anniversary Event: High-level Meeting on UHC - "UHC as a Tool to Combat Infectious Diseases" on 30-31 May 2018, in Tokyo. The event marked the milestone of the 10th anniversary of ASEF PHN as part of ASEM initiative for the Rapid Containment of Pandemic Influenza, which began at the 7th ASEM Summit (ASEM7) in 2008 with the leadership of the Government of Japan.


    The High-level Meeting gathered 57 participants representing 23 Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Partners and 12 organisations and companies. Mr Manabu HORII, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan and Dr Yusuke FUKUDA, Director General of Health Service Bureau, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan delivered opening remarks; while Dr Naoko YAMAMOTO, Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization provided a keynote speech.


    The Meeting put a spotlight on the importance of making progress towards UHC and the role it plays in containing possible health emergencies. What made it distinct was how its explored the interlinkages between UHC and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), which are two important topics on global health. The Meeting underscored that the two health priorities – pursuing UHC and addressing AMR – could not be achieved in isolation from the other. It also sought an agreement on priority actions for cross-country cooperation between Asia and Europe.


    To know more about the successful event, you may read the article of the World Health Organization South-East Asia Regional Office (WHO SEARO) here.

  •  

    By: The Asia-Europe Foundation Public Health Network and the Institute of Development Studies, UK

     

    The World Health Organization (WHO) and world leaders are giving high priority to initiatives to make progress towards universal health coverage (UHC) and to address the challenge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Governments, international agencies, and industry must work together at national, regional and global levels, so that actions to secure people’s access to effective treatment for common infections are aligned with efforts to reduce the risk of emerging AMR.

    On 30-31 May 2018, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) Public Health Network and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, with technical input from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), UK, are co-hosting a multi-country, high-level meeting focusing on the pursuit of UHC in the context of the effective management of infectious diseases and emerging AMR.

     

    Poor access and inappropriate use

    In many countries, poor people live in environments that put them at higher risk of being unwell, including from infectious diseases contracted through contaminated water or exposure to others who are sick. Many die from treatable infectious diseases because health services are unavailable or too expensive.

    As a result of poor access to health services, people seek health care in large unregulated, informal, and less expensive markets. These health care providers often lack sufficient medical knowledge, and sell drugs, including antibiotics, to make a living.

    Under these circumstances, widespread inappropriate use of antimicrobials is combined with inadequate access to them, especially for poor people. These practices may increase the risk of drug resistance, leading to infections becoming more difficult to treat and making surgical procedures much riskier.

     

    Regional collaboration needed

    Since resistant organisms can move freely across national borders, national and regional responses are required that involve government and non-government actors.

    The two day meeting in Tokyo will:

    • bring together officials with responsibilities for AMR and UHC and other stakeholders from Asia and Europe to explore the challenges they face in both ensuring access to antibiotic treatment, when needed, and reducing the risk of AMR;
    • identify practical strategies for integrating a concern for AMR into strategies for making progress towards UHC and for taking UHC strategies into account in national action plans for addressing AMR;
    • seek agreement on priorities for international cooperation between Asia and Europe to support an equitable and sustainable approach for addressing the challenge of infectious diseases.

     

    Just and sustainable

    Past and present efforts to strengthen health systems have tended to neglect measures to ensure access to appropriate antibiotic treatment of infections. And yet, if UHC is to be achieved by 2030 – the target for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – it is important that we understand the close links between UHC and AMR.

    Effective strategies for addressing AMR need to ensure access to effective therapy for common infections and reduce the risk of emergence of resistance. We hope this meeting will make an important contribution to convening and mobilising key stakeholders to work together to ensure access to antimicrobials is both just and sustainable.