Guterres calls on world leaders to make “political commitment” to health care

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Sunday urged leaders of all countries around the world for a “continued political commitment” to better prepare health systems for potential crises such as the coronavirus pandemic.

“Richer countries and international financial institutions must support developing countries so that these crucial investments can be made,” Guterres said during his videoconference address to the World Health Summit in Berlin.

Guterres has highlighted how ill-prepared the vast majority of the world is for a health crisis. “Women are the most affected. They bear a greater burden of care in the family and as front-line workers,” he has argued. At the same time, women have lost their jobs and suffer from inadequate social safety nets.

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COVID-19 and now the food, energy and financial crises brought on by the Russian invasion of Ukraine threaten the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and poverty reduction efforts. “We need to recalibrate multilateralism and strengthen global cooperation,” Guterres has said.

For the top UN official, “the unbalanced global financial system is failing the developing world.” “This must change. Everyone needs inclusive, fair and equitable access to health services, universal health coverage,” including mental health services, he said. “Good healthcare is the foundation for a peaceful and stable society,” he reiterated.

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