Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic
I am very pleased to offer my patronage to the World Health Summit, as I did on two previous occasions along with the German Chancellor and the President of the European Commission. This 2019 Summit provides once more a stimulating opportunity for dialogue, exchange, and learning. It comes at a challenging and inspiring time for global health, calling for reinforced multilateral action, an approach strongly supported by both Germany and France.
During the last months, France played an active part in this respect as Chair of the G7 focusing on the fight against inequalities. The fourth G7 Health ministerial meeting which took place in Paris in May brought forward access to primary health care as a shared priority. At the G7 Summit in Biarritz on August 26, we reiterated that universal access to social protection and affordable quality health services with primary health care are crucial. We called for further investments to strengthen health systems and eliminate the three most lethal infectious diseases – aids, tuberculosis and malaria. We adopted a Sahel Partnership Action Plan to enhance development in the Sahel region. This plan has a specific focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment and aims at reaching the most affected communities.
This year, the United Nations General Assembly bolstered the achievement of the Universal Health Coverage. France has always been a strong advocate of universal health coverage as a fundamental right: access to health and well-being must be guaranteed, regardless of one’s wealth. France implemented universal health coverage decades ago and, ever since, this has proven to be a fundamental basis for our national cohesion and prosperity. We must remain committed to this global challenge. We have to make health systems more resilient in order to provide equal access to care and to make high quality medicines available at a fair price. We have to ensure that we take on board vulnerable populations, and achieve gender equality.
A few weeks ago, France hosted the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s Sixth Replenishment Conference in Lyon. The international community gathered to step up the fight against these three pandemics, putting us back on track to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal on health and well-being for all. Working closely with partners, at international and local level, the Fund has achieved great results, opening up access to new prevention, protection and screening methods, as well as medication and healthcare, and saving 32 million lives. Hundreds of millions of people are now living better lives. With joined forces, we helped the Global Fund to continue its mission to eradicate malaria, AIDS and new drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis.
This has been a truly collective effort, with civil society, private sector stakeholders, foundations, activists and communities, pushing for more commitments, offering solutions and taking action, alongside donor and recipient countries. SDGs for health are not concerns for States alone. They are common goals and the World Health Summit is an opportunity to share this energy for action. Let us be actively optimistic for a healthier future.
I would like to thank the organizers for the wise choice of topics for the Summit and especially the focus on Africa. I wish all participants constructive discussions.