April 5, 2013
Maternity and Child Unit of the Health Center in the Tambacounda Region, Senegal
April 7 marks World Health Day. World Health Day is celebrated to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. To commemorate World Health Day, this article presents JICA’s cooperation in the health sector.
JICA's cooperation in the health sector is directly associated with the lives and health of people in developing countries. It is also in line with the four missions of JICA, namely, (1) addressing globalization issues, (2) reducing poverty through equitable growth, (3) improving governance, and (4) achieving human security. In line with JICA’s mission of achieving human security, JICA continues its commitment to global health assistance, and to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) recognizing that saving lives and protecting the health of people is one of the most important goals of development.
JICA focuses on two sub-sectors in health, maternal and child health and infectious disease control, in order to support developing countries’ efforts to achieve the MDGs. Meanwhile, there are fundamental requirements for building and strengthening sustainable health systems in each country to improve maternal and child health and to better control infectious diseases. In this regard, JICA also provides support to strengthen countries’ public administration, referral systems, and human resources for health. JICA operates in cooperation with other partners including WHO, the World Bank and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Akihiko Tanaka, JICA’s president, delivered opening remarks at a seminar on global health at the Annual Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group.
Only about 1,000 days remain to the end of 2015 – the deadline for achieving the MDGs. However, there are sub-sectors within health in which progress still lags. Moreover, some countries either have made little progress in achieving the health-related MDGs, or have made progress as a country but suffer from persistent health disparities. Therefore, universal health coverage (UHC), the mechanism to address health disparities, or to ensure health services to all people, is becoming more and more important.
In October 2012, a seminar on global health was held at the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group. In the seminar, Akihiko Tanaka, JICA’s president, suggested that additional resources still are needed to achieve the MDGs. He emphasized the need for equitable distribution of resources to address disparities between rich and poor and urban and rural, in order to ensure health services for all. He also emphasized the importance of health system strengthening, including capacity development of human resources for health, and improvement of the health infrastructure.
In this context, in order to provide necessary health services to those who are most in need, JICA will continue its commitment to achieving the MDGs in developing countries by strengthening its support in the area of health financing and human resources for health. In addition, since Japan has knowledge and experience in the development of social security systems such as universal health insurance system and human resources for health, JICA has been contributing to the achievement of UHC in developing countries based on Japan’s experience. In this regard, JICA reviewed the history of human resources for health in Japan and compiled lessons learned for developing countries.
JICA will actively share Japan’s experiences, good practices and lessons learned on such occasions as the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) in June 2013 and the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in November 2013 to contribute to the global dialogue with development partners and stakeholders in developing countries on the post-2015 agenda.