Thailand co-hosted a side event at UNGA76 to highlight the importance of Universal Health Coverage in tackling COVID-19 and preparing for future pandemics

Thailand co-hosted a side event at UNGA76 to highlight the importance of Universal Health Coverage in tackling COVID-19 and preparing for future pandemics

3 Oct 2021

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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs emphasized the importance of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in addressing COVID-19 and preparing for future pandemics at the UNGA76 high-level side event “The Road to 2023: Kickoff to the High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage.

On 30 September 2021, H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, delivered opening remarks (via a pre-recorded video) at the high-level side event entitled “The Road to 2023: Kickoff to the High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage” during the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76).

The event was co-organized by Thailand, Japan and Georgia - co-chairs of the Group of Friends of Universal Health Coverage and Global Health (GoF UHC) - together with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UHC2030. Participants who joined the event virtually included high-level representatives from the UN member States, international organizations and civil society organizations.

On this occasion, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs stressed the importance of strengthening UHC to better address COVID-19 and prepare for future pandemics. He shared the following key priorities: (1) promoting equitable, affordable, timely and universal access to vaccines and medicines by ensuring technology transfer to scale up production capacities at all levels - national, regional and global; (2) tackling the challenge of underinvestment in healthcare infrastructures and services by strengthening global medical health financing mechanisms to help developing countries; and (3) integrating UHC as part of post COVID-19 response strategies by including UHC as an important part of international conversations on preparedness and response to future global health emergencies, including in the ongoing conversation on development of a pandemic treaty.

During the interactive session, participants exchanged views on progress in implementing the Political Declaration on UHC which was adopted in 2019 (Thailand served as one of the co-facilitators in the process of negotiating the draft) and on the emerging health threats, as a part of preparation for the upcoming High-Level meeting on UHC in 2023. In addition, participants emphasized the importance of UHC as a key foundation to enable countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 3 on ensuring good health and well-being for all by 2030.

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