More than 40 finance and health ministers and deputy ministers from across Asia and the Pacific on Thursday stressed the importance of universal health coverage (UHC) and the need for stronger collaboration to mobilise healthcare financing.
During the 53rd annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) board of governors, ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa affirmed ADB's support for UHC as a foundation of strong health systems.
"We have to build health systems where people from all walks of life including the elderly, the poor and the vulnerable can access health services at an affordable cost while maintaining these health systems' financial sustainability -- even in aging societies that many countries in Asia and the Pacific are heading toward," he said.
"In this regard, close collaboration between finance and health ministers is crucial for our member economies to provide cost-effective, inclusive and high-quality health interventions underpinned by sustainable finance," said Asakawa.
Each year, the cost of healthcare drives tens of millions of people in Asia and the Pacific into poverty. During the Covid-19 pandemic, countries that have achieved UHC or are close to it have been able to mobilise critical disease prevention and control measures like such as risk communication, testing, contact tracing and isolation.
Ministers of finance and ministers of health from Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam shared lessons and successful strategies from responding to the Covid-19 pandemic while discussing the role of UHC in increasing resilience to health and economic shocks.
( With inputs from ANI )
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