Japan hosts international health conference ahead of G-7 summit


Japan hosted an international conference Wednesday on how to build a global system that ensures all people have access to essential medical care ahead of the Group of Seven summit next May, where it plans to highlight the issue.

The conference at a Tokyo hotel, attended by about 300 people, focused on how to spread “universal health coverage” (UHC) as Japan is considering announcing measures to help spread basic medical care in developing countries as one of its foreign policy priorities when it hosts the summit of major nations next year.

At the start of the conference, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on international organizations and communities to “work together toward a common goal of strengthening health systems.”

The achievement of UHC was included in Japan’s guidelines for global health policy set in September as well as in the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals adopted the same month.

Participants including World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan and Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates, head of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation charity, discussed how to raise funds and train personnel to deal with emergencies such as the Ebola virus outbreak.

On Thursday, a preparatory meeting will be held to discuss fundraising from 2017 to 2019 for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which supports developing countries by providing vaccines and drugs for infectious diseases.

Leaders of the G-7 countries — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — are scheduled to gather in Mie Prefecture in late May.