December 17, 2015

Event Report: International Conference on Universal Health Coverage in the New Development Era


The Government of Japan, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE) co-hosted the International Conference on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the New Development Era: Toward Building Resilient and Sustainable Health Systems on December 16, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan. The conference explored the role of the UHC in the transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and in enhancing preparedness and responses to health crises based on lessons learned from the recent Ebola crisis. Experts in global health, such as leaders from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Fund, World Bank Group, and World Health Organization participated.


The GHIT Fund hosted a lunch session at the conference entitled “Innovations as catalysts for access to health: The GHIT Fund as Japan’s flagship initiative”. Professor Peter Piot of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Dr. Tachi Yamada of Frazier Healthcare Partners discussed of the ways in which innovation is integral to sustainable UHC approaches.


Professor Piot remarked that innovation in the form of new products is essential for socioeconomic and global health, as well as critical to sustainable UHC efforts, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Dr. Yamada highlighted public-private partnerships with pharmaceutical companies as essential for the creation of public goods whose development and delivery does not create significant profit (such as GHIT’s technologies of focus). Indeed, pharmaceutical companies are the only entity that can effectively develop, produce, and manufacture these products.


At the conclusion of the session, Dr. Piot underscored the critical model that Japan’s GHIT offers. It is a public-private global fund that efficiently bridges the need for, and potential of, innovation to the creation and manufacture of game-changing new products for the developing world.


Dr. Kurokawa, Chair of the GHIT Fund provided closing remarks at the end of the session.