Following the G20 Summit held in Osaka in June, the G20 nations will convene again from October 19-20 for the Health Ministers’ Meeting in Okayama, Japan. Senior health officials of 19 countries and the EU will discuss how to promote global health – particularly universal health coverage (UHC) – in order to drive global economic development and growth.
In an important output of the June G20 Summit, world leaders declared a commitment to “strengthen health systems with a focus on quality including through enhancing health workforce and human resources for policy develop and promoting public and private sector innovation.” This high-level declaration might sound familiar to those in the multinational global health space: world leaders echoed similar remarks at the 72nd World Health Assembly last May and the recent High-Level Meeting on UHC at the United Nations General Assembly in September.
At the G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting in Japan, government officials can set goals to promote health innovation, address key barriers to access, ensure adequate health financing, and work in collaboration with the private sector.
Building on the G20 Summit’s declaration to achieve UHC – as well as commitments at other multinational meetings – world leaders at the Health Ministers’ Meeting should set a roadmap focused on promoting innovation, tackling key barriers to treatment, ensure adequate health financing, and building partnerships with the private sector and civil society.
- Promoting innovation requires strong intellectual property (IP) rights that incentivize, reward and sustain the innovation that helps solve real on-the-ground barriers to health. From highly developed to developing nations, promoting and protecting IP is the prerequisite for sustained innovation, which can promote greater access to high-quality health services and treatments, support greater health coverage and drive economic growth.
- In addition to innovative technologies and treatments, achieving UHC requires sufficient and sustainable health financing to support resilient, responsive and efficient health care systems. In India, the government spends just over 1% of gross domestic product on health care, with most health financing coming from out-of-pocket payments by individuals. Investing in health is crucial for all nations for patients and economic development.
- To promote new advances and innovative solutions to health financing, governments should collaborate with the private sector. In the quest to achieve UHC, the private sector can bring new ideas, innovative technologies and treatments, and the ability to mobilize resources quickly. The G20 health ministerial meeting in Okayama is an important opportunity to move our world closer to achieving sustainable, innovation-driven, partnership-supported health for all.