Milestones :: Perspectives
We recognize the inherent limitations of high-level communiques from multilateral meetings such at the G7, etc. But we present excerpts from the communique issued at last week’s G7 Health Ministers meeting in Milan which represent, in our view, constructive recognition of some key issues. Full test of the communique available at title link.
“United towards Global Health: common strategies for common challenges”
[9 pages; Editor’s excerpts/text bolding]
- We recognize the importance of improving emergency preparedness, as well as crisis management and response, in cases of weather-related, and other disasters, epidemics and other health emergencies. In this respect, we welcome the consultation, led by the Italian Presidency and with international experts, providing science-based considerations to support informed decisions. We are determined to coordinate efforts, foster innovation, and share knowledge, information, and monitoring and foresight tools, to support the resilience of health systems and to protect the health of our populations. We underline the need to safeguard the protection of health workers and facilities during emergencies and in conflict-affected areas as provided by international humanitarian law.
- In line with previous G7 and G20 commitments and the objectives set by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we reiterate the importance of strengthening health systems through each country’s path towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC), leaving no one behind, and of preventing health systems from collapsing during humanitarian and public health emergencies and effectively mitigating health crises. We will work together to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. We seek to reduce global inequalities; to protect and improve the health of all individuals throughout their life course through inclusive health services; to tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs); to sustain our commitments to eradicate polio through support to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, and to end the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis by 2030 through the support to the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and UNITAID; to support key global initiatives such as Gavi the Vaccine Alliance; and to invest in research and innovation important to global health.
- As the world gets closer to achieving global polio eradication, we also recognize the importance of continuing our efforts to succeed and keep the world sustainably polio‐free, and, of the opportunity to leverage and transition polio assets and resources that have generated major and broader health benefits, including strengthened health systems.
- We acknowledge the central leadership and coordinating role of WHO in country capacity building in preparing for and responding to public health emergencies, building resilient health systems, and the new strategic priority of WHO leadership to address the health impacts of climate and environmental factors. We acknowledge that WHO’s financial and human resource capacities have to be strengthened, including through adequate and sustainable funding of the WHO Emergency Programme and the Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE). We will explore supporting the World Bank’s Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) and the WHO programme on environmental degradation and other determinants of health.
IMPACTS OF ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS ON HEALTH
- We welcome and support the provision of health services, particularly including immunization programs for migrants and refugees, including in situations of forced displacement and protracted crises, as well as the improvement of health services in transit and destination countries. This includes making immunization programs and clinical services available and accessible to everyone, while increasing the surveillance of infectious diseases and the monitoring of NCDs and their risk factors.
- We will seek to improve access to physical and mental health services and assistance to migrants, refugees and crisis affected populations as appropriate. We will promote the identification, sharing, and adoption of good practices to address psychosocial needs of refugees and migrants. Following the adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in September 2016, and the Resolution WHA 70.15 in May 2017, the support for migrants and refugees should consider their specific needs, leaving no one behind, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
GENDER PERSPECTIVE IN HEALTH POLICIES AND RIGHTS FOR WOMEN, CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
- We invite the OECD to benchmark mental health performance focusing specifically on adolescents. We condemn sexual and gender-based violence that impacts women and girls across the globe. We need to demonstrate our commitment and our leadership in addressing sexual and gender‐based violence, including harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation, in line with SDG 5.2 and 5.3, and human trafficking, including for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
- We will support and empower women’s, children’s and adolescents’ voices, and meaningful participation through our policy, advocacy and programmatic engagement on health and nutrition and actively involve also men and boys as agents of change.
- We will seek to invest in their education, improving their health literacy, skills, and capacities, including children and adolescents’ gender and diversity-sensitive sexuality education, programmes, and tools.
- We will promote R&D for new antimicrobials, alternative therapies, vaccines and rapid-point-of care diagnostics, in particular for WHO-defined priority pathogens and tuberculosis. We endeavor to preserve the existing therapeutic options. We see at this as a first step towards the acceleration of political commitments and urgent coordination, we look forward to the report to the United Nations General Assembly on AMR and the High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis in 2018.
- We recognize the urgent need to build political momentum on the importance of addressing the impacts of environmental degradation and other factors on health and coordinated action for strengthening health systems, in line with aid effectiveness principles. This includes addressing health workforce shortages and poor health financing by countries to achieve their goals of increasing access to health care. We welcome WHO, World Bank, UNICEF, and relevant partners, including OECD, joint action for supporting countries to achieve SDG 3.8, and look forward to the progress reported at the UHC Forum 2017 next month in Tokyo.
- We acknowledge the particular challenges of delivering health services in fragile states and conflict‐affected areas, where health systems are often compromised and ill-equipped to respond. Moreover, medical personnel and facilities in areas of conflict are increasingly under attack. Highlighting UN Security Council Resolution 2286 (2016) and UN General Assembly Resolution A RES/69/132 and UNGA 71/129, we strongly condemn violence, attacks, and threats directed against medical personnel and facilities, which have long term consequences for the civilian population and the healthcare systems of the countries concerned, as well as for the neighbouring regions. We therefore commit to improving their safety and security by upholding International Humanitarian Law.
- We reiterate our commitment to build our International Health Regulations (IHR) core capacities and to assist 76 partner countries and regions to do the same. We also recognize the importance of developing national plans to address critical health security gaps as notably identified using the WHO’s Joint External Evaluation tool. We call on all countries to make specific commitments to support full implementation of the IHR and recognize their compliance with IHR as essential for efficient global health crisis prevention and management. We encourage other countries and development partners to join these collective efforts.