New York

23 September 2019

Secretary-General's remarks to the High-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage [bilingual, as delivered; scroll down for all-English]

Je vous souhaite la bienvenue à cette réunion de haut niveau. Nous sommes aujourd’hui réunis pour défendre une cause qui est, par essence, liée à tous nos objectifs de développement: la santé pour tous.
 
L’accès à des services de santé de qualité, à un coût abordable, apportant bien-être physique et mental et répondant aux besoins des femmes et des hommes, des filles et des garçons, est un droit universel.
 
Pourtant, tristement, près de la moitié des habitants de la planète ne peuvent toujours pas exercer ce droit. Et cela a des conséquences graves pour l’humanité tout entière.
 
Chaque année, ce sont quelque 100 millions de personnes qui s’enfoncent dans la pauvreté à cause de dépenses de santé exorbitantes.
 
Même lorsque des services de santé existent, ils sont souvent inadaptés pour répondre à l’étendue des souffrances humaines. Les conditions de santé mentale en particlier, négligées et stigmatisées depuis bien trop longtemps, sont un facteur d’angoisse indescriptible pour celles et ceux qui en souffrent et pour leurs proches. Cette injustice doit cesser.
 
Au-delà, des systèmes de santé dysfonctionnels posent des risques qui ne s’arrêtent pas aux frontières nationales.
 
Investir dans la santé pour toutes et tous, c’est investir dans l’humanité, et œuvrer pour le bien-être et la prospérité de chacun.
 
Les faits montrent que la couverture sanitaire universelle est un moteur de croissance économique pour les particuliers, les familles, les entreprises et les sociétés dans leur ensemble. La santé est à la fois facteur et conséquence du progrès économique et social.
 
C’est la raison pour laquelle la couverture sanitaire universelle est au cœur du Programme 2030 et de toute l’action que nous menons en faveur du développement durable, qu’il s’agisse de la lutte contre le changement climatique, de la promotion de l’égalité femmes-hommes, de l’élimination de la faim ou encore du financement durable.
 
Le Programme 2030 représente une opportunité sans précédent d’agir sur les facteurs sociaux indispensables à la santé et au bien-être. 
 
Grâce à des systèmes alimentaires durables, une nourriture équilibrée et l’accès à l’eau potable et à l’assainissement, le Programme 2030 contribuera à prévenir des maladies.
 
C’est aussi un appel mondial en faveur de politiques de transport permettant de réduire la pollution et d’une meilleure gouvernance assurant des services de santé accessibles et efficaces.
 
Saisissons l’occasion.
 
Today is an important landmark on our journey to health for all.
 
The Political Declaration in front of us is the most comprehensive agreement ever reached on global health – a vision for Universal Health Coverage by 2030. I congratulate all Member States, and particularly the co-facilitators, Georgia and Thailand, for their efforts to reach consensus.
 
This is a significant achievement that will drive progress over the next decade on communicable diseases including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, while addressing non-communicable disease and antimicrobial resistance through robust and resilient primary healthcare systems. I saw firsthand the vital need for such systems when I met health workers and patients affected by the Ebola outbreak during my recent trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
 
The Political Declaration also states the need to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services and reproductive rights.
 
It is essential to protect the wellbeing and dignity of women and girls.
 
Many countries are on the path towards achieving health for all by 2030. Others will need to accelerate their efforts so that no country, community or person is left behind.
 
We urgently need to change the financing paradigm and step up the pace of investment in health for all.
 
Through joint efforts including the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All and Every Woman Every Child, the United Nations is ready to support you with our convening power, knowledge and expertise.
 
Multi-stakeholder partnerships and innovative cross-sectoral investments will be essential to success.
 
But making Universal Health Coverage a reality by 2030 depends first and foremost on bold national leadership. Your presence here today confirms your commitment to this cause.    
 
Let us all be champions of health for all.
 
Thank you.

***
Welcome to this high-level meeting. We are here today to champion a cause that is connected to all our development objectives: health for all.
 
Accessible, high-quality, affordable care that promotes physical and mental health, and addresses the needs of women and men, girls and boys, including during conflict and humanitarian crises, is an universal right. 
 
Sadly, half the world’s people are still waiting to exercise that right, with serious consequences for us all. 
 
Every year, some 100 million people around the world are impoverished by catastrophic healthcare expenses.
 
Even when health care is available, it often fails to cover the full spectrum of human suffering. Mental health problems cause enormous anguish to individuals and their loved ones. They have been neglected and stigmatized for too long. This has to stop.
 
And weak healthcare systems pose a risk that goes far beyond national borders.  
 
Health for all is an investment in humanity and in wellbeing and prosperity for everyone.
 
Universal Health Coverage has proven to be a catalyst for economic growth that benefits individuals, families, communities, businesses and economies. Good health is both an outcome and a driver of economic and social progress.
 
That is why Universal Health Coverage is at the centre of the 2030 Agenda, inseparable from all our work on sustainable development, from climate change to gender equality, from sustainable financing to zero hunger.
 
The 2030 Agenda is an unprecedented opportunity to address the social drivers that lead to good health and wellbeing. 
 
It will help prevent illness through sustainable food systems, improved diets and access to safe water and sanitation.  
 
It is a global call for transport policies that reduce pollution, and for strengthened governance that enables the efficient delivery of health services to people.
 
We must seize this chance. 
 
Today is an important landmark on our journey to health for all.
 
The Political Declaration in front of us is the most comprehensive agreement ever reached on global health – a vision for Universal Health Coverage by 2030. I congratulate all Member States, and particularly the co-facilitators, Georgia and Thailand, for their efforts to reach consensus.
 
This is a significant achievement that will drive progress over the next decade on communicable diseases including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, while addressing non-communicable disease and antimicrobial resistance through robust and resilient primary healthcare systems. I saw firsthand the vital need for such systems when I met health workers and patients affected by the Ebola outbreak during my recent trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
 
The Political Declaration also states the need to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services and reproductive rights.
 
It is essential to protect the wellbeing and dignity of women and girls.
 
Many countries are on the path towards achieving health for all by 2030. Others will need to accelerate their efforts so that no country, community or person is left behind.
 
We urgently need to change the financing paradigm and step up the pace of investment in health for all.
 
Through joint efforts including the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All and Every Woman Every Child, the United Nations is ready to support you with our convening power, knowledge and expertise.
 
Multi-stakeholder partnerships and innovative cross-sectoral investments will be essential to success.
 
But making Universal Health Coverage a reality by 2030 depends first and foremost on bold national leadership. Your presence here today confirms your commitment to this cause.   
 
Let us all be champions of health for all.
 
Thank you.