Institute for Global Health Policy Research (iGHP), the Global Network for Health Financing and Social Health Protection (P4H), and Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies (APO) had a pleasure of co-organizing a side event entitled “Health System Financing and Social Health Protection for UHC: Role of Comparative Health System Analysis and Regional Collaborations in Asia” during the UHC Forum 2017 held in Tokyo from 12th to 15th December 2017.
The aims of this event were to validate priority health financing and protection issues and challenges to progress towards UHC in Asia, and obtain consolidated views on regional networking initiatives for UHC to address region specific challenges and opportunities. The event also emphasized the challenges and opportunities for using health system research in order to generate evidence for policy changes in Asia Pacific region.
The P4H’s presentation included a several topics including its evolution over the past 10 years with a transition from the MDG to SDG context, and a framework based on the intersection of health, social, finance – in line with SDG principles. A group of panelists that represented the steering group members of the P4H network also had insightful and relevant dialogues on global collaborations for health financing and protection. The APO’s presentation focused on the Asia Pacific Context, highlighting the uniqueness of the regional and national landscape of political economy in Asia and the implications it has on networking and partnership. The participants also learned about the APO’s engagement with countries based on the above-mentioned realities and increasing focus on policy dialogues and engagement with national health leaders throughout the life cycle of APO publications. In addition, the Executive Summary of the Japan Health Systems Review (HiT) report was launched as an example of publications that looks at the whole health system architecture at the national level including health care financing for ageing society as well as a model of collaboration between various partners in Asia. The Japan HiT presentation was all-encompassing that it covered the history of Japanese health care system, various challenges Japan currently faces as well as the newly proposed health-care vision in order to tackle challenges beyond the “Japan Vision: Health Care 2035”.
Furthermore, we were honored to have two distinguished guests, Dr. Naoko Yamamoto, WHO Assistant Director General for UHC and Health Systems and Dr. Agnes Soucat, WHO Director of the Department for Health Systems Governance and Financing join as a speaker and participant, respectively, who delivered remarks during the event.
Assistant Director General Yamamoto congratulated all the partners for organizing this important event during the Tokyo Forum. Dr. Yamamoto underscored the role of health financing and social health protection in moving towards UHC. According to her, the Tokyo Forum placed a special emphasis on health financing, and provided opportunities at the highest political level to discuss UHC in the contexts of different countries, such as Japan. Dr. Soucat also welcomed this event and expressed her active and full support towards regional networking for UHC. The potential role of networking in improving data and communication, sharing lessons and experiences and closing the knowledge gaps across countries and regions was evidently presented in the WHO regional and global financing reports prepared for the Forum, namely health expenditures estimates produced according to the new system of health accounts.
Despite the fact that the event was held during the last hours of the UHC Forum 2017, we were fortunate to have many participants from various professional fields and different regions of the world as well. The success of this side event clearly showed how all the organizing partners value the collaborations and inputs provided from different fields. In conclusion, all the partners agreed that the side event was well organized and met its expected objectives and outcomes. The partners have genuine interests and willingness to continue working together to promote and strengthen the partnership platform and networking for advancing UHC including health financing and social health protection in the Asia and Pacific Region.
Naoko Yamamoto, Assistant Director General, WHO
Soonman Kwon, Professor, Seoul National University
Walaiporn Patcharanarumol, IHPP, Thailand
Claude Meyer, P4H Coordinator, WHO/HQ
D. Bayarsaikhan, P4H
Nima Asgari, APO
Haruka Sakamoto, University of Tokyo
Kenji Shibuya, Director, iGHP, NCGM
Eiji Hinoshita, Director-General, Bureau of International Health Cooperation, NCGM
Xenia Scheil-Adlung, International Labour Organization
Irina Nikolic, the World Bank
Menkhanym Kaldybayeva, Republican Centre for Health Development, Kazakhstan
Heiko Warnken, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany