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Global Health Forum of Boao Forum for Asia

June 10-12, 2019

Qingdao, China

 

 

        

 

         Dr. Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun
         President of Global Health Forum of Boao Forum for Asia
         Member of BFA Council of Advisors
         Emeritus Director-General of WHO

 

Dr. Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun is the Emeritus Director-General of WHO. She served as the seventh Director-General of WHO from January 2007 to June 2017. The WHO experienced profound changes during her tenure.

 

In early 21st century, the health of the global population faces political, social, economic and epidemiological challenges, which are unprecedented in complexity and global impact. The aging population, antibiotic resistance, climate change, increasing obesity, global sales of unhealthy consumer goods and chronic NCDs (non-communicable diseases) have surpassed infectious diseases as the world's number one killer. In addition, the global financial crisis of 2008 have an impact on the health of the global population, with many governments having difficulty maintaining the financial resources needed for basic medical services.

"Our goal must be to protect and promote physical and mental well-being for all. Health is both an outcome and a driver of progress.”

—António Guterres

Secretary-General of United Nations

Despite these enormous challenges, under the leadership of Dr. Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, countries around the world made continuous progress in improving the health of their population and increasing life expectancy. During her tenure, Dr. Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun led the Global Campaign of "Health for All". She also led global responses to several major global health crises, such as the global pandemic of influenza, the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa and the prevalence of the Zika virus. Dr. Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun reformed the WHO, making it one of the most transparent and responsible international institutions. As Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun placed a priority on working with other stakeholders in the community to achieve the goal of UHC (Universal Health Coverage).

Why are we holding the Global Health Forum

Is the world healthier than it was 40 years ago?

In September 1978, representatives from 134 countries, the World Health Organization and UNICEF unanimously support the Declaration of Alma-Ata at the International conference on Primary Health Care. This accord marked a major milestone in the field of global public health and identified primary health care as key to the attainment of the goal of Health for All .

40 years have passed since then, and with the continuous development of science and technology, we have witnessed tremendous progress in health. For the first time, humans have conquered smallpox and successfully reduced the infant mortality rate below 50%. Since 1990, the global life expectancy has increased by 7 years. Developing countries, led by China, have made great strides in basic health insurance coverage, life expectancy and other major health indexes.

 “Today, instead of health for all, we have health for some. We all have a solemn responsibility to ensure that today's declaration on primary health care enables every person, everywhere to exercise their fundamental right to health.”  

—Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Director-General of WHO

However, we still have a long way to go. Globally, investments in health are still lacking. Climate change and environmental pollution are aggravating. Although the average life expectancy has increased, the quality of life is in decline. Climate change and pollution pose significant threats to human health. Health development imbalances in various countries is particularly evident. In low-income countries, the average mortality rate of newborns is still as high as 27‰. Even in the largest of developed countries, health care efficiency is extremely low. In fast-growing emerging markets, high blood pressure, diabetes, malignant tumors and chronic non-communicable diseases have threatened the public health and remains a major cause of unhappiness and poverty. In today's world, half of the population still cannot access basic health care. There is still a long way to go in achieving the goal of "Universal Primary Health Coverage".

The good news is, we will have more resources, capabilities and political will to solve this problem. The growth of China, India and other emerging economies means that more wealth will be focused on health. As the mobile Internet moves toward the 5G era, new technologies, businesses and models in the health sector, as well as "shared medical care", "smart medical care" and "cross-border health services" will continue to flourish. This will not only encourage the integration of the health sector with surrounding industries but will also promote the sustainable symbiotic development of the health ecosystem. It will also encourage better public policies, improve social values, and promote more in-depth international cooperation.

On 25th October 2018, the 197 members of the World Health Organization gathered at the Global Conference on Primary Health Care in Astana, Kazakhstan, and unanimously supported and accord declaring primary health care to be the key to the attainment of the goal of Health for All. This marks a dedication of global leaders and political will to further international cooperation in health.

President Xi Jinping has repeatedly pointed out that "The all-round moderately prosperous society could not be achieved without people's all-round health". As the world's most populous country and the largest developing country, China has always placed the expansion of universal health coverage in a key position in its strategic development. China's Healthy China 2030 Planning Outline calls for the development of health care and medicine, and emphasizes public welfare, inclusiveness and innovation in health development. China issued the Opinions on Promoting the Development of "Internet Plus Medical Health" which emphasized the establishment of an "Internet Plus Health Care" system. The action plan not only provides a road map for the world in solving basic health coverage problems, but also a good opportunity for China to develop its domestic health and actively participate in international health cooperation.

After consulting with various stakeholders, the Boao Forum for Asia, a non-governmental and non-profitable international organization, decided to host its inaugural Global Health Forum in June 2019 in Qingdao, China. Aimed at maintaining the strong momentum of the Declaration of Astana and promoting its implementation, the Global Health Forum will serve as a platform for long-term cooperation and exchanges in the health industry between Chinese domestic and international government officials, as well as with media and non-governmental organizations. The Forum will also integrate global political will as well as innovations in technology, finance, and business models in the health industry. Thus support the UN's Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.