Japan holds international conference to discuss universal health coverage in context of COVID-19
Japan's Permanent Mission to the United Nations held an online conference on COVID-19, with participation from the WHO, UNICEF and UN ambassadors from over 100 countries. The primary focus of the event was to discuss the need for universal health coverage (UHC) in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, and officials from the WHO stated the need for global commitment on universal access to healthcare by providing development assistance, especially for vulnerable countries.
Referencing a political declaration by the UN last year promoting UHC, Japan's Ambassador to the UN Kimihiro Ishikane stated, “it's more important now than ever to be more involved with this declaration now that COVID-19 having a major impact on people."
Furthermore, WHO Deputy Executive Director Zsuzsanna Yakab claimed, “in order to suppress the virus, it is essential that everyone be able to receive medical services without suffering financial difficulties” and urged countries to improve their medical systems.
The 2014 Ebola epidemic illustrated the difficulties in preventing diseases like Ebola, measles, malaria, and tuberculosis in vulnerable medical systems, and UNICEF Director Henrietta Fore highlighted the need to prepare for other infectious diseases during the coronavirus pandemic.