Global solutions are needed for pandemics, so that all can live with dignity
– COVID-19 has highlighted significant gaps in the world’s ability to cope with pandemics, and closing them is crucial to mitigate the impacts of future global health challenges, said Masato Kanda, Japanese vice minister of Finance for International Affairs, at a recent online meeting of parliamentarians.
The meeting on “Follow-up to Nairobi commitments in the context of COVID-19” learned that the gaps were serious and significantly affected and that they would impact the world’s ability to respond to pandemics in the future.
“These gaps include insufficient coordination, information sharing between multilateral and bilateral agencies, limited collaboration between financial and health decision makers, inadequate funding both to prevent or effectively prepare for future pandemics,” said Kanda. He clarified that the governance, financing of the current global health system, including the development, manufacture, purchase and delivery of vaccines and medical equipment needed urgent attention.
Japan had actively participated in recent discussions at the G20 meeting in Italy. Kanda noted that without proper and integrated governance reform, the world “would once again be left with fragmented, inappropriate and uncoordinated responses.”
Professor Keizo Takemi, Member of Parliament and President of the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD), opened the session by recalling that discussions within the forum and beyond should focus on the impact of the pandemic of COVID-19, which has caused “prolonged and devastating changes in our daily lives”.
He said a face-to-face meeting in Tokyo was scheduled for February 2022 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of AFPPD and APDA.
Including the cost of the pandemic, he noted that it was having an “unprecedented impact on many areas, such as education, the global workforce, food systems, public health and advocacy. individual decision on procreation “.
In terms of health, this had an impact on the provision of sexual and reproductive health services, and these were to be on the agenda for future discussions.
Yoko Kamikawa, MP and former justice minister, chair of the Japanese Parliamentarians’ Population Forum (JPFP), said at the 40th anniversary next year that she hoped parliamentarians could review “measures taken by Asian parliamentarians in the past and discuss how to build a society where everyone can live their lives with dignity.
Parliamentarians play a crucial role in achieving the SDGs, she said.
“To achieve sustainable development, we must go beyond the nation-state and establish a new set of norms and rules that will allow us to live humanely on this planet and that will benefit human society as a whole. And that is precisely why it is extremely important for parliamentarians who legislate on behalf of their citizens to continue their cooperative efforts, ”Kamikawa said.
Björn Andersson, Regional Director of UNFPA APRO said the ICPD25 summit in Nairobi brought together 8,000 delegates from 170 countries and territories. He stressed the importance of universal access to health care. No one at the Nairobi summit could have predicted the impact of COVID-19.
“Over the past 18 months, healthcare systems have been strained. And we have noted a decrease in investment in routine health services in favor of the purchase and delivery of COVID-19 supplies, ”he said.
It had a big impact on the communities. For example, over the past 18 months, there have been changes in the care-seeking behaviors of many people, including pregnant women, who were concerned about leaving their homes and coming into contact with COVID-19 in health facilities.
“It had a negative impact on maternal mortality. It is clear that increased public funding for health is needed, alongside innovative strategies that harness resources to work more efficiently without further increasing personal spending for individuals and households, ”said Andersson.
Parliamentarians have played a critical role in achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health rights within the framework of universal health coverage (UHC).
“In light of the COVID 19 pandemic and its impacts. It is more important than ever to increase public financing for health in the form of strategic and targeted investments to achieve and maintain the health-related sustainable development goals. The smooth functioning of the delivery of quality health care and essential services cannot be compromised, even in the context of the COVID 19 pandemic. “
Dr Takeshi Kasaï, WHO The Regional Director for the Western Pacific agreed that a global solution was essential to address public health emergencies.
“COVID-19 has made it clear that health, the economy, and broader social well-being are inextricably linked,” he said. “The second lesson was that global health (the problems) needed a global solution, and for that, effective multilateral mechanisms and institutions are needed.”
While no one expected effective vaccines to be developed as quickly as they were, the challenges with COVAX in fulfilling its mandate of ensuring equitable access to vaccines were of concern.
“Unless every country is protected, no country is safe,” he said.
Preparing as it headed for a fourth wave of the pandemic was of crucial importance for the world, and the key to that was effective multilateral mechanisms.
- The online meeting was hosted by: Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD); Federation of Japanese Parliamentarians for Population (JPFP) and Asian Association for Population and Development (APDA). The event was supported by the Japan Trust Fund (JTF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).