Statement by the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emanuela Del Re, at the High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage —
Madam and Mr. Chair, thank you friends,
Italy sees Health as a fundamental pillar of our societies. It is a moral, social and economic imperative and an irreplaceable provision of the social contract to make sure that Governments provide quality health services to all their citizens. This is exactly what Italy does, providing public health to everyone.
Global Health must be considered as a ‘global public good’. Universal health coverage allows for reduced inequalities, poverty; it allows full human development and it is at the core of a peaceful and prosperous society. Hence, Italy remains fully committed to achieve SDG 3 globally.
As a G7 and G20 Member Country, Italy consistently advocates for more ambitious objectives on global health. On the occasion of the Italian Presidency of the G7 in 2017, we hosted the Milan Health Ministerial Meeting, where we agreed on the Declaration entitled “United towards Global Health: common strategies for common challenges”. Madam and Mr. chair, health is a longstanding core priority of the Italian Development Cooperation, which dedicates substantial resources to the fight against epidemics and diseases, to tackle public health crisis, to strengthen national health systems and to provide essential services to those most in need. We are convinced that global health is a global challenge that requires Effective Multilateralism and Partnership at their best.
Remember that Multilateralism has allowed to tackle global health emergencies, has allowed to work on access to medicines, has allowed to fight against epidemics, has allowed to provide immunization to millions of children.
Global Health is the first area of intervention of the Italian Multilateral Development Cooperation in terms of financial resources allocated. Italy is a proud founder and a major donor of the Global Fund against HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the GAVI Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. Last month, the Italian Prime Minister Conte has announced that Italy will increase its contribution to the Global Fund for the next three years, in order to contribute to save additional 16 million lives, increase treatments, support national health systems and reach the most vulnerable.
Italy is also among major supporters of the UN Development System entities dedicated to health in terms of both development and humanitarian actions, having WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the WFP, among others, as major partners and implementers.
I want to add that upon my initiative, Italy is scaling up its engagement efforts to raise international awareness on childhood diarrhea, a disease often resulting in fatal consequences that is endemic in several areas of the world.
Child diarrhea is recognized by the WHO as a global killer, being a second leading cause of malnutrition and death in children under five in low-income countries (around 525.000 infant deaths on yearly basis, more than malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis combined).
We believe that increased public awareness is needed (governments, practitioners and even the general public to take straightforward steps to reduce its transmission and improve prevention in the developing world.
For these reasons, Italy calls for urgent actions to facilitate educational and information campaigns (including the possible institution of a dedicated “International Day”), the involvement of supporters and allocation of funds, all aimed at ending this mortal disease through appropriate policies and interventions.
Our multilateral support is integrated with our bilateral actions, where Universal Health Coverage remains a priority while we implement health programs and focus on least developed countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the key support of our specialized civil society organizations, national health institutions, including universities and hospitals, working on the field.
Thank you very much.