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Statement by Italy’s Minister of Health Orazio Schillaci at the 78th UN General Assembly’s High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage

WhatsApp Image 2023-09-21 at 3.25.33 PM

Excellencies, distinguished colleagues,

Italy strongly believes in the crucial importance of Universal Health Coverage; in fact, our Constitution recognizes health as a universal right and ensures the access to healthcare services to all, observing the principles of solidarity and equity in the spirit of “leaving no one behind”.

As recalled in this year’s Political Declaration, the milestone of Universal health Coverage is primary care, since 90 per cent of essential health interventions can be delivered in this setting.

Moreover, 75 per cent of the projected health gains in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals could be achieved through primary health care, including saving over 60 million lives by 2030;

The pandemic highlighted the social value of community-based healthcare and the need to strengthen the integration between health and social policies; investing in health prevention must be considered an important aspect of sustainable development.

We are convinced that healthy ageing and lifelong prevention, together with all related social health determinants, are among the most pressing health needs in order to increase both life expectancy and healthy life expectancy.

At a global level, we need to make an extra effort to support fragile Countries in increasing their health systems’ resilience, considering that every Country has a different path to achieve Universal Health Coverage. Italy promotes resilient health systems strengthening in the framework of international cooperation, both at the bilateral and multilateral level. Bilateral and multi-bilateral initiatives contributed to primary health care development particularly in Africa and in the Middle East.

At the multilateral level, Italy has also strongly advocated for an increased focus of the Global Fund’s activities on HIV, TB, malaria and other epidemics. We will continue to support this goal.

Our success will be measured by the capacity of paying special attention to vulnerable groups and reduce health inequalities within and between communities, regions and Countries.

Gender-equitable access to health systems, in particular for the most vulnerable populations, should be regarded as an area of particular concern.

To make “Health for all” a reality, skilled health workers providing quality and people-centered care, and policymakers committed to investing in Universal Health Coverage are essential.

Thank you.