September 26, 2018
Readout of Secretary Azar’s Second Day at the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly
On Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar began his second day in New York City at the first-ever United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High-Level Meeting on the fight against tuberculosis (TB). First he spoke at PATH, a Panorama and UN Foundation that reflects on the global community’s efforts to stem recent infectious disease outbreaks and support partner countries’ working to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks. The secretary reaffirmed the U.S. government’s commitment to the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and emphasized that the U.S. will continue to work with partners to build and strengthen health security capabilities.
Immediately after, Secretary Azar participated in several bilateral meetings at the United Nations Headquarters. He met with France’s Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Agnes Buzyn, to discuss President Trump’s Drug Pricing Blueprint, G7 priorities, and their mutual commitment to prioritizing pandemic preparedness and global health security. Secretary Azar met with Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Katsunobu Kato, of Japan and discussed HHS priorities on key health issues such as anti-microbial resistance (AMR), pandemic influenza preparedness, and the GHSA.
Secretary Azar provided the national statement for the U.S. at the U.N. Plenary High-Level meeting on TB with remarks on how the world’s deadliest infectious disease is affecting global health, and called for collaboration across countries to commit their own resources to eradicating the disease within their own borders. At the meeting, Secretary Azar said, “Unless we are satisfied with today’s treatments for TB – and how could we be – we must be vigilant in avoiding measures that will discourage market actors from investing to create the needed therapies of tomorrow.”
During a working lunch, Secretary Azar met with Wellcome Trust to explore ways in which the government can deepen collaboration around novel approaches to addressing the challenge of TB. After lunch the secretary had a bilateral meeting with Colombia Minister of Health and Social Protection, Juan Pablo Uribe. Secretary Azar expressed gratitude to Minister Uribe for Colombia’s ongoing engagement in Zika research and discussed ways to address the impact of the Venezuelan crisis on the region. Next, Secretary Azar discussed the importance of protecting innovation and intellectual property in order to fuel the next generation of life-saving therapies with Emilio Santelices, Chile’s Minister of Health.
Secretary Azar concluded his day with opening remarks at a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention event entitled, “Preventing TB to End TB.” At the event he highlighted the U.S. government’s historic leadership on addressing TB globally, U.S. efforts on eliminating TB, how partners can join the fight against TB, and finally emphasized the importance of prioritizing prevention to end the TB epidemic.
To conclude the evening, Secretary Azar attended a working dinner with Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health from Canada and reinforced the necessity of ongoing collaboration on the opioid crisis, mental health and AMR between the U.S. and Canada.