News ID: 238926
Published: 0655 GMT February 16, 2019

Japan takes lead in universal health care push at UN

Japan takes lead in universal health care push at UN

Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations Koro Bessho on Friday kicked off the first multinational meeting aimed at drumming up support and laying the groundwork for a high-level push later this year towards achieving universal health care coverage.

"Few areas of life as we know are as pertinent to people everywhere as health," said President of the UN General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espinosa at the Japan-led meeting held at the UN headquarters, wrote.

The meeting brought together representatives of the so-called Friends of Universal Health Coverage, which now has a membership of around 40 countries. A series of meetings is to be held in the lead up to the Sept. 23 event.

The initiative is meant to coincide with the annual General Assembly gathering that attracts the world's top leaders. They are expected to adopt a declaration giving the objective forward momentum.

Naoko Yamamoto, the World Health Organization's assistant director general, also stressed the importance of implementing health coverage for more people around the world.

"Universal health coverage is a fundamental right of every human being, health is a matter of justice, and solidarity and health is important for peace, security and development," she noted in her remarks.

Bessho told Kyodo News after the meeting that half the world's population remains without universal health coverage and he hopes the work at the UN will provide impetus to efforts at achieving the goal.

"We are going to discuss what the obstacles are and how to we can reach the goal," he said.

"So I'd like to discuss all those points with member states."


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