September 23, 2019
Secretary Azar Represents the United States during UNGA High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage
Today, September 23, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar delivered the United States Government statement as the head of the U.S. delegation at the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, urging the meeting to focus on the ultimate goal of healthcare efforts and health coverage: better health for all. The U.S. statement is available here.
Before the High-Level Meeting, Secretary Azar, joined by ministers representing three of the six World Health Organization regional groupings delivered a joint statement by 19 countries representing more than 1.3 billion people, deploring politicized language in the High-Level Meeting declaration on Universal Health Coverage, which distracts from a focus on health, and urged member states to instead concentrate on topics that unite rather than divide. After the joint statement was delivered, two additional countries asked to join, bringing the total number of countries to 21. The Secretary’s full remarks and the joint statement are available
While the High-Level Meeting continued, Secretary Azar co-hosted an event with the Kazakhstan Health Minister Yelzhan Birtanov titled, “Primary Health Care Towards Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.” Secretary Azar and Minister Birtanov were joined by the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus, International Telecommunication Union Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, World Bank Global Director of Health, Nutrition, and Population Muhammad Ali Pate, and UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. This event built upon the objectives Secretary Azar laid out during his statement in the High-Level Meeting. To achieve better health outcomes for all people, the U.S. is working to transform the healthcare system into one that prioritizes outcomes, and progress on this initiative begins with primary care providers. Secretary Azar stressed that primary care providers and services are essential to accomplishing goals like ending the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and combating the opioid crisis in the U.S., and to delivering on the ultimate goal of better health for all. Secretary Azar’s remarks from this event are available here.
Secretary Azar also participated in an Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Challenge event hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During the event, Secretary Azar highlighted the nearly 350 commitments made since the CDC launched the AMR Challenge one year ago, including steps taken by governments, corporations, groups of healthcare providers, and NGOs. Secretary Azar’s remarks from this event are available here.
Also, while at the UNGA today, Secretary Azar attended President Donald Trump’s “Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom,” where President Trump urged international support to protect religious freedom around the world.
Finally, Secretary Azar participated in two bilateral meetings, first with the Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili and Georgian Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze and then with the Colombian Health Minister Juan Pablo Uribe. These discussions covered a range of health priorities, including global health security.