In an effort to improve regional health systems in African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries, the EU and WHO have made an agreement to fund a new grant program.
A lot of the program will be funded by the European Development Fund (EDF), and will support 78 countries in dealing with health security issues and tackling disease.
Earlier in the week, WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu, and EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Neven Mimica, set ambitious new goals in order to achieve universal health coverage by 2030.
Tedros Adhanom said: “We’re committed to working with all the countries to ensure the EU generous financial support is translated into policies and programs that deliver results, meaning achieving the 1 million target and to be on track in terms of SDGs.”
The main aim of the program is to provide safe and effective healthcare globally, as well as affordable medicines and vaccines. This is part of a comprehensive approach to improving global health, rather than just tackling individual diseases.
At the event, it was noted that particular attention needs to be paid to non-communicable chronic diseases. This includes cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases which account for over 80% of all non-communicable disease deaths.
These diseases are often caused by environmental and behavioral factors, such as smoking and obesity. So, focusing more on health education and prevention could be key to reducing the number of premature deaths.
The WHO and EU first began working together on the issue of universal health care in 2011. In recent years, the partnership has strengthened and they have built close ties between various EU departments and WHO offices around the world.
Among their successes, between 2013 and 2017 over 13 million children received a full set of vaccinations. Additionally, 11 million people gained access to HIV treatment and 57 million women were able to get contraception.
The EU plans to increase its contribution to the budget to €118 million. And in the long-term, it’s hoped that the program will save more lives.
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