The Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund), Peter Sands, visited Japan on March 1-2, 2023, and met with global health experts as well as made a trip to the internationally renowned Research Institute of Tuberculosis to learn the history of Japan’s fight against tuberculosis and achievement of universal health coverage (UHC) in the post-World War II era. The visit came at a pivotal time for Japan, as the nation will host the Hiroshima G7 Summit in May 2023.
Key messages expressed included:
Throughout his trip, Mr. Sands repeatedly expressed his appreciation for Japan’s support to the Global Fund and how the early and increased pledge toward the 7th Replenishment set the momentum for other countries to follow. He was invited as a guest at a special meeting with JCIE’s Executive Committee for Global Health and Human Security. As an international advisory member of the Hiroshima G7 Global Health Task Force established under the committee, Mr. Sands explained how the Global Fund’s investment in resilient and sustainable systems for health (RSSH) contributes to pandemic preparedness and UHC. He shared his hopes for the upcoming G7 Summit under Japan’s presidency and for Japan’s leadership in the G7 discussion on pandemic preparedness.
Mr. Sands also took part in a public seminar focused on “Game Changers—Japanese Innovation in Combatting Infectious Diseases” inviting Japanese private sector companies, experts, and academia to a panel discussion that highlighted key challenges in ending epidemics as well as the Global Fund’s strategy and expectations for innovative tools and approaches in addressing these challenges. The seminar was co-organized by FGFJ and the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund) and showcased the collaboration among the GHIT Fund, Unitaid, and the Global Fund, as well as their complementarity and added value for equitable access and delivery.
Mr. Sands showed special interest in learning about how Japan was able to overcome tuberculosis in the post-war era to better share the lessons with other countries still struggling in the fight and trying to achieve UHC. His visit to the Research Institute of Tuberculosis allowed for a better understanding of the intricate and comprehensive cross-sectoral measures and concentrated budget allocations that led to Japan’s success. Mr. Sands also engaged with young lab technicians from Asia and Africa undergoing training at the institute and asked the technicians about what they hoped to bring back to their respective countries, as well as about the impact COVID-19 had on their jobs.
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