As the 49th G7 Summit in Hiroshima closes, G7 Heads of State have released the Leaders’ Communiqué. We take a look at what it means for global health and neglected tropical diseases.
The Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) met in Hiroshima for their annual Summit on May 19-21, 2023, to discuss and agree how to meet the global challenges of this moment. At the end of the Summit they produced the G7 Hiroshima Leaders’ Communiqué which outlines what has been agreed at the Summit, and concrete steps they will take on key issues.
We are pleased to see comprehensive commitments to global health by G7 leaders, including language on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in the communiqué, where leaders “reaffirm the essential role of universal health coverage (UHC) in addressing various health challenges significantly set back by the pandemic, including [...] neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)”. We are also pleased to see a financial contribution attached to the commitment on UHC and pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (Pandemic PPR) of $48 billion from the public and private sectors.
In addition, we welcome G7’s determination and commitment to:
- accelerate achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), recognizing that reducing poverty and tackling the climate and nature crisis go hand in hand;
- invest in global health through vaccine manufacturing capacity worldwide, the Pandemic Fund, the future international agreement for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, and efforts to achieve UHC;
- continue to scale up and enhance support to strengthen the resilience of climate-vulnerable groups through enhancing climate change adaptation and climate disaster risk reduction;
- strengthen and maintain sufficient and high-quality human resources for health worldwide at all times;
- work alongside global partners to assist countries to achieve UHC by supporting primary health care (PHC) and developing and restoring essential health services, to achieve better than pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2025, as part of efforts to strengthen health systems in ordinary times.
Ending NTDs is critical to the delivery of these commitments and we must ensure that NTDs are included in financing for Pandemic PPR, UHC, and climate.
- Pandemic PPR: We welcome that the G7 have renewed their “strong commitment to developing and strengthening the global health architecture”, including ensuring effective pandemic prevention, preparedness and response efforts to break “the cycle of panic and neglect”. Investing in fighting ongoing epidemics – including NTDs, malaria, HIV, and TB – is critical to strengthening the world’s capacity to prepare for future pandemics. As highlighted by 40 parliamentarians in an open letter to G7, eliminating NTDs requires the establishment of robust disease surveillance systems, which can also improve early detection of new health threats, allowing for a faster and more effective response. We now call on the G7 to ensure that the control and prevention of current epidemics is included in financing and delivery.
- UHC: We commend the G7 Leaders’ longstanding commitment to achieving UHC and for prioritising UHC at the 49th Summit. In particular their commitment to support "primary health care (PHC) and developing and restoring essential health services, to achieve better than pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2025". The scope and access of NTD programmes to some of the world’s poorest communities are a gateway to achieving UHC and an indicator for equity. Investments in NTD programmes expand access to health services to hard-to-reach populations and frees up capacity to address other health issues. We need to ensure funding for NTDs is part of new UHC commitments.
- Climate: We welcome G7’s commitments to tackling the climate crisis. By taking action on NTDs, we can strengthen national and community health systems and build resilience to ensure health systems have the capacity to respond to shifting disease risk that we will see as a result of climate change.
We also commend G7 nations for their recognition of “innovative initiatives”, such as the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT), in strengthening the global health architecture and achieving UHC. It is critical we ensure that new innovations and technologies can be accessed by the most vulnerable populations affected by NTDs.
Finally, we welcome G7’s recognition of the importance of ODA, including the commitment to “continued efforts to scale up official development assistance (ODA) and expand its catalytic use including through innovative financing mechanisms, recognizing the importance of respective commitments, such as the 0.7% ODA/GNI target that some countries adopted” and calls for domestic financing.
As we look forward to the G20 and the High Level meetings on UHC and pandemic PPR at UNGA in September, we need to see these bold commitments accompanied by sustainable financing and concrete actions. As a sector, we must ensure that NTDs are recognised as critical to these agendas and included in financing for UHC, pandemic PPR, and climate mitigation efforts.
Find out more about Uniting to Combat NTDs’ advocacy in the lead up to G7.