WHO, EU Strengthen Cooperation for Universal Health Coverage
Alongside European Development Days, the World Health Organization and the European Commission strengthen their cooperation to help countries move towards universal health coverage (UHC).
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica signed the next phase of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) partnership programme for 2019–2022, worth € 123.75 million (US$ 135 million), on June 18, 2019.
The signing took place in the European Development Days event held in Brussels.
WHO has no higher priority than universal health coverage…. It not only improves health, it also helps to reduce poverty, drive inclusive economic growth and advance gender equality,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, as per WHO Europe.
We will not reach our objectives on Sustainable Development Goal [SDG] 3 just by tackling specific diseases, we need a more comprehensive outlook and to make sure that the overall health system gets the financing it needs,” said Neven Mimica European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, as per WHO Europe.
The event also had several sessions on breaking the silence about mental health, inequalities in sexual and reproductive health and rights and partnerships critical for finding innovative solutions.
Breaking the silence about mental health
During his visit to Brussels, Dr Tedros also participated in a dialogue on mental health with Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of the Belgians, one of 17 SDG Advocates appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General. Dr Tedros remarked that, while awareness of the importance of good mental health is growing, we are a long way from meeting the need for prevention and support services. He said:
The key to promoting better mental health is to ensure that mental health services are included in benefit packages as part of UHC”.
Partnerships critical for finding innovative solutions
During the European Development Days, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, held a discussion on the role of partnerships and innovation to overcome inequalities in health.
In the opening remarks, European Commission Director-General for International Cooperation and Development Stefano Manservisi recognized the innovative approach of the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All, which combines the resources and expertise of 12 of the world’s leading health and development organizations. Manservisi acknowledged that “greater collaboration among global health actors is crucial to accelerate the SDGs, putting health at the centre of the 2030 agenda”.
In her intervention, Dr Jane Ellison, WHO’s Executive Director for External Relations and Governance, invited participants to engage in the online public discussion on a set of papers outlining how to strengthen collaboration to support countries in accelerating progress on the health and health-related SDG targets – something that IOGT International has done systematically.
These papers will inform the final draft of the Global Action Plan that will be launched at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019.