G20 Health Ministers' Declaration

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We reaffirm the right of every human being to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition, as set forth in the World Health Organization's (WHO) constitution. The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented health emergency, reminding us of our interconnectedness and vulnerabilities. We echo our Leaders’ commitment to presenting a united front against this common threat. We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic response requires worldwide solidarity and an urgent global effort. We call for a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

1. Resilient, strong, responsive, inclusive and sustainable health systems are critical for achieving universal health coverage (UHC). UHC promotes wellbeing for all, which underpins human capital development, sustainable economic growth, prosperity and stability of countries, and contributes to achieving global health security. Achieving UHC is therefore paramount to G20 members.

2. We recall our commitment to achieve UHC, as a target adopted in the United Nations 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the important role of countries’ following their own paths in line with national contexts and priorities to UHC, guided by the principle of leaving no one behind, reaching the furthest behind first. We note the political declaration of the High-Level Meeting on UHC: “UHC: Moving Togetherto Build a Healthier World” and renew our commitment to achieve this goal, in particular by strengthening primary health care. We acknowledge the importance of increased coordination of global health actors and reaffirm our support to the ‘Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-Being for all’. We recognize the importance of sustainable financing for health and we bear in mind the key considerations in the “G20 Shared Understanding Document on the Importance of UHC Financing in Developing Countries” at the Joint Session of Health and Finance Ministers in Osaka.

3. We therefore commit to scaling up innovative approaches to move towards the 
achievement of UHC through resilient, sustainable, person and community centered, gender-sensitive health systems focusing on risk factors for poor health outcomes and equitable access to health services including access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all. By shaping the next frontier for health, and empowering people, we can help ensure all people lead healthy and productive lives.

Pandemic Preparedness and Response
4. We acknowledge that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is causing largescale loss of life, severe human suffering and widespread disruption to economies and societies. We recognize that health threats caused by infectious diseases pose significant risks not only to public health but also to security, stability, sustainability and inclusive growth. This pandemic calls for an urgent whole-of-society, multisectoral including private sector and whole-of-government coordination of national efforts. Furthermore, requires vigorous and coordinated political leadership and collective action at the G20 and global level to end the pandemic. As well as mitigate the severe economic and social impacts of this crisis, particularly on the most vulnerable, and to recover stronger.

5. We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted systemic weaknesses in 
health systems and has shown vulnerabilities in the global community’s ability to prevent and respond to pandemic threats. The COVID-19 pandemic confirms the need to reinforce and deliver on commitments to strengthen national health systems, including strengthening preparedness, prevention, detection and response capacities, in line with the WHO’s International Health Regulation (IHR 2005). The COVID-19 pandemic also highlights the economic imperative of strong health systems. We commit to initiate a process that will pull together the key lessons learned of this crisis. We acknowledge the secondary impacts of COVID-19 across economies, livelihoods, education, health including mental health and other sectors, and especially the impact on women, children and vulnerable groups, and that all countries must prepare and respond accordingly.

6. We remain determined to address the most urgent priority of minimizing the loss of life and health impacts on individuals and communities, particularly for the most vulnerable and high-risk populations and the most affected countries in need of health support. We will cooperate and coordinate on early alert of outbreaks and timely information-sharing according to IHR (2005); containment measures; community engagement and public communication; research and development as well as promoting increased production for new diagnostics; laboratory testing; treatments and vaccines; supporting efficient, optimal access to quality medical equipment and supplies for all, especially in areas where the need is highest. We will strive to minimize collateral effects of the COVID-19 pandemic related to broader health outcomes.

7. We have identified urgent actions that need to be taken to minimize the health, societal and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as continue to share national best practices in line with the G20 Extraordinary Leaders’ Statement on COVID-19.

8. We reaffirm our support for strengthening health emergency preparedness, prevention, detection, and response at national, regional, and global levels, in full compliance with the IHR (2005), and emphasize the importance of adequate and sustainable financing to strengthen our health systems’ abilities i.e. adequate health infrastructure, lab testing capability and adequate human resources to prevent, detect, mitigate and respond to outbreaks.

9. We emphasize the important mandates of the United Nations’ systems and agencies, primarily the WHO while considering the ongoing evaluations, its stated commitment to transparency, and the need to strengthen its overall effectiveness in coordinating and supporting the global response to the pandemic and the central efforts of member states therein. We look forward to the work of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPR) and the IHR review committee on evaluating the global health response to the COVID-19 pandemic as outlines in the World Health Assembly (WHA) Resolution on COVID-19. We also recognize the importance of the IHR (2005) and the need to ensure their full implementation by all member states. The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for increased preparedness to enable efficient responses, especially in countries with vulnerable health systems.

10. We recognize the paramount efforts and total commitment of health professionals in managing the crisis, and the price paid in terms of human lives. We appreciate health professionals and other front liners contribution to the response against the pandemic. We commit to supporting efforts to improve the timely and adequate availability of preventive measures for all people involved in healthcare activities and to revise health staffing policies, where needed in accordance with national context and priorities, and to promote the systematic training of all health professionals both in the preventive and assistance sectors.

11. We recognize the fundamental role played by our populations in adhering to policies aimed at slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, such as physical distancing which temporarily change our lifestyles. We also recognize the role played by volunteers in ensuring essential services during this crisis. We commit to strengthen community engagement and collaboration with civil society associations in the current response and preparedness improvement for any future health emergency.

12. We commit to enhance and encourage research into the development of new tools and technologies to better predict and model potential pandemic events, rapidly develop and deploy, and promote access to affordable, safe, effective, and quality medicines, vaccines, diagnostics, medical equipment and supplies and personal protective equipment for frontline workers. We also commit to leveraging existing digital technologies as well as the digital based service delivery wherever possible in efforts to improve the efficacy of prevention, risk mitigation, crisis communications, and response measures, through both public and private resources.

13. We recognize the need for sustainable and innovative financing, human resources and institutional capacities to support pandemic preparedness and that investments in preparedness further social and economic benefits. We fulfilled our commitment to review, together with the G20 Finance Ministers, the assessment of gaps in pandemic preparedness that the WHO underwent, in cooperation with relevant international organizations as requested by G20 Leaders in March 2020.

14. We call for a global response and a sustainable solution to the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic response requires worldwide solidarity and urgent global effort. We encourage all countries and donors to contribute to all relevant global health security mechanisms. We recognize that it is far more cost-effective to invest in this regard, we recognize the role that international partners dedicated to access to innovation such as Unitaid and the Medicines Patent Pool can play. We will work with relevant sectors and support G20 Trade Ministers’ efforts to facilitate the flow of vital medical supplies and other goods and services across borders, consistent with national requirements, and to resolve disruptions to the global supply chains, to support the health and well-being of all people for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. We agree that emergency measures designed to tackle COVID-19, if deemed necessary, must be targeted, proportionate, transparent, and temporary, and that they do not create unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption to global supply chains, and are consistent with WTO rules.

20. We welcome the landmark cooperation to accelerate the development, manufacturing, distribution of and equitable access to vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics, and health systems strengthening in the fight against COVID-19. In this regard, we fully support all collaborative efforts, especially the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) initiative and its COVAX facility, and the voluntary licensing of intellectual property. We welcome the success of Gavi's replenishment this year, so essential vaccination in developing countries continues, systems are in place for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, and health systems can be made more resilient and sustained through the COVID-19 pandemic. We will strive to take further efforts to scale up vaccine production facilities with the aim of supporting equitable and affordable access for all. We welcome the international pledging conferences supporting the efforts in the fight against COVID-19.

21. While the world rightly is focused on COVID-19, we must not forget the grave risks posed by the potential resurgence of yellow fever and measles, and pandemic threats such as influenza. We acknowledge that influenza virus is unique in that it causes recurrent seasonal epidemics and poses a pandemic threat that can undermine global health, economies, and advancements in sustainable development. Important components of pandemic preparedness include: strengthening the capacities in all countries for early warning and response, including managing vaccines stockpiles, the continued delivery of primary health care including routine immunization, training for health care providers as well as risk mitigation and the management of influenza and other outbreaks with pandemic and epidemic potential. We recognize that there is a need for coherent and inclusive approaches to support UHC in emergencies. We also recognize the risk for adverse outcomes of other health conditions, particularly those related to maternal, newborn, and child health. We commit to increase collaboration between relevant public and private actors, including governments, multilateral organizations, and nongovernmental stakeholders, and to work together with the global community and partners to strengthen health care systems and core capacities for preparedness, prevention, detection, and response in all countries; with an emphasis on training and timely information sharing in accordance with IHR (2005), incorporating lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic into our plans and approaches.

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This article was publised under the category News on 25/11/2020 08:00.