Twenty-five speakers, including ministers and senior officials from Member States, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhan Ghebreyesus and directors of signatory agencies, took part in an online event published by the first progress report stronger collaboration, better health: The Global Action Plan for Healthy Living and Welfare for All (GAP), following the launch of GAP at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019.
This marks a strong commitment to the implementation of the GAP and an important step towards accelerating the country’s progress in achieving health-related sustainable development (SDG) goals.
Following an introductory speech by the Director-General of the WHO, keynote statements were made by the directors of the signatory agencies, including:
- Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF
- Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund
- Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS
- Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, Vaccine Association
- Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
- Dr. Muhammad Pate, Director of the Global Fund for Women, Children and Adolescents and Senior Director of Health and Nutrition, World Bank
- Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women
- Dr. Philippe Duneton, CEO of Unitaida
- Amir Abdulla, Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Program
Faced with the many challenges that countries face during the COVID-19 pandemic, our shared vision of coherent and coordinated support for the multilateral system is more important than ever. Strong, sustainable leadership and support from Member States and partners are crucial to achieving this ambitious goal.
– Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,
The SDG3 GAP Progress Report provides early evidence of the progress made and challenges faced during the “learning-working approach” and covers the first 8 months of implementation since launch and outlines the progress made by partner agencies in moving away from key GAP commitments – include, speed up, settle, bill – for action.
Building on existing cooperation, the agencies have committed themselves to leveraging the Global Action Plan to fill gaps and add value to existing global, regional and national coordination mechanisms in response to helping countries protect health gains to date, recovering from a more resilient COVID-19 pandemic health systems and continue efforts to achieve sustainable development goals.
The report also covers and highlights case studies from five countries and some of the challenges it has faced to date, such as the need to further institutionalize the GAP approach to inter-agency cooperation.
Member States’ interventions
Minister of Public Health of Afghanistan, honors. Dr. Ahmad Jawad Osmani
Afghanistan has witnessed significant progress in health outcomes over the past two decades by improving access to health services. Justice and social justice were the guiding principles. In today’s Afghanistan, we are facing an increasing burden of infectious and non-infectious diseases. Most women die both because of the mother and outside the mother. Although more children are now celebrating their 5th birthday, many are critically malnourished. And this year, Afghanistan has the highest number of cases of polio. My team and I are working to increase the resilience of our health care system and incorporate lessons learned from the pandemic response to meet people’s needs. Primary health care is the backbone of an essential, responsible and resilient health care system and my team is working to improve the application of primary health care services.
Federal Minister of Health of Germany, Hon. Mr. Jens Spahn
Germany greatly appreciates the leading role of the WHO in the Global Action Plan and during its first phase of implementation. This plan is an outstanding example of multilateral cooperation. However, the current pandemic threatens hard-won improvements toward achieving SDG 3 and could set us back years. Therefore, the Global Action Plan is more important than ever to connect our efforts and face this challenge together. Lessons learned from the first phase of the Global Action Plan can be used to adapt and further support its objectives. The Progress Report reflects the strong cooperation and coordination of the 12 signatory agencies in support of short-, medium- and long-term actions in response to COVID-19. Germany is convinced that the Global Action Plan will play an important role in making progress towards health-related SDGs. It also signals the strong support of the WHO and other partners in the Global Action Plan in this joint commitment.
Minister of Health of Ghana, Hon. Mr. Kwaku Agyemang-Manu
Ghana is strongly committed to universal health insurance as evidence in the ambitious UHC path we have prepared to guide our path towards our UHC goals. Expanding our positive approach to primary health care and strengthening the national health insurance system are key drivers of these efforts. Funding is key to our success, hence the need to mobilize new resources for health. GAP plays a key role as we strive to operationalize, fund our UHC roadmap, and update our health care financing strategy. GAP brings the coherence, coordination and collaboration we need and expect from a multilateral system. As we grapple with the immediate COVID-19 crisis, the Global Action Plan is crucial to ensuring that we do not lose track on the path to sustainable development health goals.
Norwegian Minister of Health, Hon. Mr. Bent Høie
With today’s launch of the progress report, we are reminded that the deadline for SDGs is only ten years. The Global Action Plan is more important than ever. Today’s message is clear: we need to step up action on targets where we are lagging behind. We must remain focused on this important instrument for working together to ensure a healthy life and well-being for all. Building strong, inclusive primary health care systems is crucial. Not only because of an individual or the readiness of a country, but also because of world security. Because no one is safe until everyone is safe. Norway remains a consistent partner for our common future. We are determined to continue working with others to ensure health for 2030. The Global Action Plan is an indispensable tool to help us get there. We will not leave anyone behind.
Minister of Health and Social Welfare of Somalia, Hon. Mrs. Fawziya Abikar Nur
Today, I represent Somalia, a country that has suffered and continues to suffer from protracted crises and complex humanitarian emergencies. The profound effects of these crises have weakened and fragmented our health care system, creating a huge loss of human capital and this has been reflected in our health indicators such as high maternal and child mortality, low immunization and impoverished access to health care. As we recover from COVID-19 and rebuild our system, I ask our development partners, especially GAP signatories, to understand more than ever our local context, health priorities, and the value of a strong government-led collaborative and cohesive partnership. Both shared responsibility and commitment to monitoring and evaluating funding results in the health sector. More than ever, we need to act together and advocate for universal health insurance using evidence and data on what works in fragile and vulnerable environments and what cheap but large interventions are. We need to rebuild our systems and ensure that services are accessible, affordable and fair to all.
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