Back Button
health
Health

Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Asia and the Pacific

  • Project Name: Asian Development Bank–Japan International Cooperation Agency Meeting on Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Asia and the Pacific
  • Region/Country: Japan
  • Sector and Themes: Health
  • Year: 2019
  • Project Leaders: Takehiko Nakao and Kitaoka Shinichi
Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Asia and the Pacific
ADB Social Development Thematic Group Chief Wendy Walker moderating the session on Emerging Opportunities to Achieve Universal Health Coverage in Asia during the ADB-JICA Meeting on Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Asia and the Pacific held in Tokyo, Japan, in February 2019.

Sharing all of our experiences and lessons, whether successful or unsuccessful, is one of our responsibilities in this region to advance UHC.

—Shinichi Kitaoka, president, Japan International Cooperation Agency

Development challenge

Asia and the Pacific, home to more than half of the world’s population, continues to face barriers to achieving universal health coverage (UHC)—that is, equitable access to quality Health Care without undue financial burden. These include communicable diseases, aging, and income disparity between the rich and the poor. Artemisinin-resistant malaria is a continuing challenge in the region. Other communicable diseases also do not respect national borders. A few countries still experience wild poliovirus transmission. The working-age population in Asia and the Pacific also continues to shrink as populations undergo drastic aging. The burden of noncommunicable diseases has become more serious because elderly populations are more susceptible to illness. Income disparities between the rich and the poor have also been aggravated by the disproportionate financial burden of ill-health on poor families.

Solution

Achieving UHC contributes to equitable economic growth while stabilizing societies and making them more climate resilient. In support of this, ADB and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) organized a meeting during the G20 Summit to jointly agree on concrete outcomes for UHC, keeping a climate-resilient lens.

Knowledge products and services delivered

The TA supported the ADB–JICA joint summit on 13 February 2019 in Tokyo that also served as an input to the G20 Summit in Osaka in June 2019. The meeting came to some important conclusions. While domestic financing was identified as the primary revenue source for UHC, it must be complemented by innovative financing solutions. Blended financing (combining loans, grants, and TA) could fast-track progress toward UHC. The meeting participants called for collaborative efforts across stakeholders, including WHO, the Global Fund, GAVI (Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance), multilateral development banks, ministries of finance and health, and international and local NGOs.

New approaches for sustainable health financing
The event enabled participants to discover new approaches for sustainable health financing to ensure universal health care.

Impact and results

The event enabled participants to discover new approaches for sustainable health financing to ensure UHC. It provided fresh perspectives on financing to achieve UHC as part of the SDG agenda. It also strengthened the ADB–JICA partnership and reinforced the joint MOU that was signed in May 2017 to establish a strategic partnership to strengthen health security and promote UHC in a rapidly aging Asia and Pacific region. The meeting provided vital inputs for the G20 Summit in Osaka, which took UHC as a major theme.

Lessons for Replication

As countries continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, achieving UHC plays a vital role in recovery and in building communities that are resilient to future health risks. The current crisis presents an opportunity to take stock of ADB’s own programs, and joint initiatives to promote UHC. Similar future events can examine the lessons learned from managing projects during a pandemic, especially the role that ADB can play when collaborating with development partners.

The meeting G20 Summit in Osaka
The meeting provided vital inputs for the G20 Summit in Osaka, which took universal health care as a major theme.

Sharing all of our experiences and lessons, whether successful or unsuccessful, is one of our responsibilities in this region to advance universal health coverage.

—Shinichi Kitaoka, president, Japan International Cooperation Agency

Under our new long-term Strategy 2030, in response to Asia and the Pacific’s growing needs for health services, ADB is scaling up our health sector operations with a focus on UHC.

—Takehiko Nakao, former president, ADB
Hashtags:
#UniversalHealthCoverage #UHC #Health #HealthFinancing #Collaboration #Strategy2030 #SDG
Share Knowledge Solution: