Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund, visited Japan on October 24–26. It marked his fifth trip to Japan, where he paid a courtesy call to the Minister of Health, Welfare and Labour and State Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and met with members of the Japanese Diet, senior government officials, and members of the FGFJ advisory board. He also gave a keynote speech at a special seminar on “Ending Epidemics by 2030: The Global Fund’s Strategy and Partnership with Japan,” which was attended by researchers and practitioners in the field, and visited a public health center in central Tokyo where there is a high incidence of tuberculosis.
Mark Dybul explains the achievements of the Global Fund at a meeting with members of the Diet Task Force
On many different occasions, Dybul reiterated his appreciation for Japan’s contribution to the recent replenishment of the Global Fund. He acknowledged that the replenishment preparatory meeting, which was hosted by Japan, and the international conference on universal health coverage (UHC), which was co-hosted by JCIE and the government of Japan in December 2015, triggered the progress and momentum toward the replenishment. Citing the announcement of a new pledge of US$800 million in advance of the G7 Ise-Shima Summit and the commitment to global health made at the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI), Dybul praised Japan’s consistent leadership role in the successful replenishment.
He also described Japan’s intellectual contribution to the field of global health policy, including to the Global Fund. Starting with the initiative on health system strengthening launched at the previous G8 Toyako Summit in 2008, followed by Prime Minister Abe’s announcement on the promotion of UHC in 2013, and the G7 Ise-Shima Vision for Global Health released in May of this year, Japan has actively led the debate on global health, underlined by Japan’s commitment to human security as its core foreign policy pillar. Dybul said the world continues to look for Japan’s leadership in this field.
One of the highlights of his trip was a visit to the public health center in Shinjuku ward in central Tokyo to learn about the effort around TB. Shinjuku has a relatively high incidence of TB compared to the rest of the country, and there is a great concern about infections among the young, foreign visitors and immigrants from neighboring Asian countries, in addition to the elderly and homeless people. Dybul pointed out that four out of the top six countries that account for 60 percent of global incidences are in Asia (India, Indonesia, China, Pakistan). Given the high mobility of people across borders, he emphasized the importance of continued assistance to these TB-prevalent countries as part of Japan’s strategy to contain TB. He noted that Japan has a long history and experience in dealing with TB, and expressed his expectation that Japan will actively contribute its knowledge and expertise to the TB programs in Asia.
Visit to Shinjuku Public Health Center with Dr. Nobukatsu Ishikawa of Japan Anti-Tuberculosis Association
Courtesy call on Hon. Kentaro Sonoura, State Minister for Foreign Affairs (photo by MOFA)