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The Japanese Government Just Pledged $2.9 Billion to Universal Health Coverage

On Dec. 14, at the Universal Health Coverage Forum 2017 in Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a commitment of approximately $2.9 billion to programs in developing countries that are working towards universal health coverage.

World leaders and youth activists banded together on stage at the forum to remind their audience of the opportunity they had to make health a right, according to Global Health Strategies, an organization that works to improve health and wellbeing around the world.

“We will give our all to building a global framework to promote UHC, together with Secretary-General Guterres and other world leaders,” Prime Minister Abe said.

Take Action: It’s Time to Deliver on the Promise of Universal Health Coverage

Senegalese President Macky Sall, Myanmar President Htin Kyaw, and World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also took part in the forum.

The goal of universal health coverage is to ensure that all people have access to the healthcare they need, without suffering financial hardship when paying for these services.

And this concept is gaining momentum — the UN will hold a high-level meeting on UHC in 2019, and has also declared Dec. 12 as Universal Health Coverage Day.

Read More: Health Care Costs Are Forcing 100 Million People to Choose Between Food & Medicine

The Japanese commitment was not the only outcome of the forum.

The Ministry of Health of Nigeria showed their commitment to UHC by pledging to deliver free primary health care to 8 million more Nigerians in 2018’s first quarter, according to Global Health Strategies.

“Universal Health Coverage as we are all aware is enshrined in the National Constitution — the right to health. It is the statutory role of government to ensure that all citizens, irrespective of the geographical divide have access to affordable and needed health services in an equitable manner without falling into financial catastrophe,” Prof. Isaac Adewole, Nigeria’s minister of health, said.

Read More: Which Leaders Are Holding to Their Health Commitments?

Parliamentarians from the African Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development also pledged to promote UHC, and the Gates Foundation confirmed it would invest in better measurement of primary health care.

The Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030 developed a statement of principles, vowing to prioritize the most vulnerable and to urge governments to spend a minimum of 5% GDP on health.

Good health is essential in order to reduce extreme poverty and that is why Global Citizen campaigns on issues related to global health. Commitments to the UHC movement are promising steps in achieving healthy lives for all. You can take action here.