UHC Forum 2017 – Tokyo, Japan

In 1961, Japan became one of the first countries to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the key factor behind the country’s incredible improvements in health status and life expectancy of its population. 56 years later, the global health community united in Tokyo to learn from Japan’s experiences and achievements, and achieve similar goals in all countries worldwide, on a true quest for #HealthForAll. 
<Dominique Vervoort>
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“Our goal must be to protect and promote physical and mental well-being for all. Health is both an outcome and a driver of progress. It is at the centre of our vision of a more sustainable, inclusive and prosperous future […] When we invest in health – particularly of women and adolescents – we build more inclusive and resilient societies.” The United Nations’ (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres addressed the Forum with the UN’s willingness to support countries on their path towards UHC. Similar to Dr. Tedros, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), he stressed the importance of political will to commit to UHC, which could yield a twentyfold return in terms of full-income growth within a generation. At the same time, Japan reaffirmed its reputation as the leading voice in UHC, pledging $2.9 billion to developing countries pursuing UHC, each in their own unique way.
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The WHO published its “2017 Global Monitoring Report”, which noted that half of the world’s population -more than 3.5 billion people- do not receive the healthcare services they need. From those that do receive healthcare, 800 million face catastrophic expenditure (more than 10% of household expenditure) and 100 million are pushed into poverty due to out-of-pocket payments for medical care.
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Just as peace is not simply the absence of conflict, so is health not just the lack of illness. Our goal is not only a band-aid or a single dose of medicine, important as those are. Our goal must be overall well-being, physically and mentally for everyone in all countries.
– UN Secretary-General António Guterres
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UHC Day
On December, 12th, the world celebrated UHC Day, which is now officially recognised by the UN. United by the UHC Coalition, over 1,000 organisations in over 120 countries joined forces to spread the word and discuss about UHC, to #WalkTogether and to #RiseForOurRight towards health for all.
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On this day, the Global Surgery community did not stay quiet either, holding an official #SurgeryUHC side event at the UHC Forum 2017, titled “The Power of Surgical Care to Catalyze Universal Health Coverage” and organised by the WHO, the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Harvard Program in Global Surgery & Social Change, the G4 Alliance and Johnson & Johnson, emphasising the essential role of surgery and anaesthesia for UHC. Global health and global surgery leaders, ranging from Jim Yong Kim (President of the World Bank) and Sania Nishtar (WHO Commission on NCDs) to Emmanuel Makasa (Permanent Mission of the Republic of Zambia to the UN) and Agnes Soucat (Director Health Systems, Governance and Financing at WHO) discussed key topics ranging from task-shifting and health workforce to health systems strengthening and health financing.
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In the other parts of the world, InciSioN’s National Working Groups held small UHC events on a local level, further advocating for UHC among the future health workers of the world. InciSioN-Rwanda believes that “healthier communities are essential for sustainable growth and development”, whereas Tanzania agreed that everyone -rich or poor- should have the right to access quality health services whenever they need it, all united to make sure that safe surgery and anaesthesia are enshrined in UHC by 2030.
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Check #SurgeryUHC on Twitter to read up on all important statements regarding Global Surgery on the UHC Forum 2017 in Tokyo, Japan.
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Read “Surgery & Anaesthesia: the Overlooked Keys to Universal Health Coverage” for more information: https://medium.com/health-for-all/surgery-anesthesia-the-overlooked-keys-to-universal-health-coverage-524bb2eeecb1

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