Japan is breaking new ground in efforts to bring global health to the forefront of both private and public sector agendas. As the host of this year’s G20 Summit, Japan is leading the international dialogue on inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and along the way, advocating for universal health coverage (UHC).
In the lead up to the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7), which begins this week, this edition of Access Today examines the evolving role Japan is playing in global health and the progress being driven by our member companies. Currently, the seven Access Accelerated member companies headquartered in Japan lead 19 programs addressing five NCDs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
As Japanese engagement in solving global health challenges increases, we asked Access Accelerated member companies for their perspective on how to put our six cross-cutting principles into practice. These principles lay the foundation for effective design in public health programming, and for our Japanese member companies, are vital for articulating commitments and making an impact.
1. Patient-Centered Approach
At Eisai, the Remember I Love You program demonstrates the principle of taking a patient-centered approach to program design. The company said, “Our employees visit patients and their families across the country and communicate directly with them. This is in line with our corporate philosophy to understand the feelings of patients and their families and increase their benefits.”
2. Strong Local Ownership and Engagement
When programs align with existing systems and empower local stakeholders, member companies see that programs make a greater impact. As said by Osamu Chihara of Astellas Pharma Inc., “Community outreach and mobilization are essential to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and identify and refer women in need of fistula treatment. Action on Fistula, in partnership with the Ministry of Health of Kenya, is training and equipping Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) to more effectively reach all women across Kenya suffering from fistula and connect them to treatment.”
3. Substantive Partnerships
Sustainable Development Goal 17 is devoted to fostering strong partnerships and member companies, such as Takeda, have seen the benefits of building relationships where all parties have a shared vision and goal. “Deepening partnerships is vital, and the most effective way to mobilize constrained resources and allocate them in ways to ensure the most impactful activities,” said Takeda’s Yosuke Sugiyama. “With the guidance and leadership of the Japanese government, Takeda has been contributing to and catalyzing innovative partnerships in the global health arena such as The Global Fund and the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund.”
4. Sustainable, Equitable Solutions
For biopharmaceutical companies in Japan and beyond, program and solution sustainability is of the utmost importance. “We make efforts to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs through our businesses, but we understand there are many gaps that need to be solved to truly accelerate access to healthcare,” said Megumi Maruyama of Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co. “Our collective action beyond medicine could be one of the strongest strategies to achieve the SDGs.”
5. Innovation and Continuous Learning
Programs that prioritize innovation are flexible and creative in the face of challenges and frequently review their results to identify opportunities for improvement. Chugai’s Health Camp Against NCDs program not only addresses challenges in detecting and treating diseases in rural communities, but also showcases the great potential of pilot interventions to expand and grow based on past learnings. “This year, the program was a pilot case and the number of villages were limited,” said Chugai’s Aya Harada and Ichiro Yoshida. “However, the ministry of health and sports in Myanmar focuses on NCDs now and the health department in the pilot district is interested in our program. We are motivated and considering expanding the scope next year.”
6. Rigorous Transparency and Measurement
Access Accelerated member companies share key learnings as a way to improve global health program design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. Reflecting on their approach to cultivating community health workers in China, Daiichi Sankyo’s Global Health Team recognized the importance of capacity building for healthcare professionals and standardizing diagnoses by implementing Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) training programs. This approach combined with maternal and child health programs to improve health awareness in communities, led to synergies across the wider region. Activities and learnings are regularly reported on.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Ghana Advocacy Agenda of People Living with NCDs: Responsible for 43 percent of all deaths in Ghana, NCDs place a remarkable strain on the country’s health systems and communities. The Ghana Advocacy Agenda of People Living with NCDs launched on May 21 to amplify the voices and efforts of people living with NCDs in addressing this epidemic. Read more.
World Bank Report on Health Financing for UHC: Surrounding the momentum of the G20 Summit, the World Bank released a report on “High-Performance Health Financing for Universal Health Coverage.” The report sheds light on how countries, communities and the global economy alike stand to benefit from health financing investments that advance UHC and sustainable growth. Launched to inform the first-ever G20 Finance and Health Ministers session in Japan, the report lays a path toward bridging the UHC financing gap. Read more.
New World Bank Loan to Improve Grassroots Health Services in Vietnam: In June, the World Bank approved a new loan to advance grassroots health services in Vietnam. Expected to benefit 9.2 million people, the US$80 million loan will help improve the quality of, and access to, basic health services across 13 provinces in the country. The Investing and Innovating for Grassroots Health Service Delivery Project is designed to not only reach the poorest communities, but also close gaps in access to basic healthcare while expanding new services. Read more.
Access Observatory Releases 2019 Report: In July 2019, the Boston University led Access Observatory published its second annual report, “Establishing the Foundation for Shared Learning.” As highlighted in BMJ Global Health, the Access Observatory measurement framework creates a shared language for the collection and reporting of pharmaceutical industry-led access programs. This new report underscores the efforts our member companies are making to demonstrate our cross-cutting principles in action: continuous learning, rigorous measurement and transparency. Read more.
City Cancer Challenge Releases 2018 Activity Report: Through C/Can, local stakeholders are supported to strengthen their capacity, leadership and accountability in the delivery of cancer care. In their 2018 Activity Report, learn how C/Can unites the global cancer community while building local communities that place people at the center of cancer control. Read more.
28 August: Accelerating Sustainable UHC by Improving Access to NCD Care
On 28 August, Access Accelerated will host a side event at TICAD7. Join us in Yokohama, Japan to explore the commitment shared by the biopharmaceutical industry and international partners to tackle the growing burden of NCDs. RSVP here
29 – 30 August: 4th Global Summit on Circulatory Health
The World Heart Federation is convening the 4th Global Summit on Circulatory Health on the theme of Innovations in Circulatory Care and Technologies at the Maison de la Mutualité in Paris, France, with the support of Access Accelerated. Learn more about the program and speakers here.
4 – 6 September: East Africa Healthcare Federation Conference
The EAHF is convening global leaders for the 8th annual East Africa Healthcare Federation conference in Nairobi. Access Accelerated Head of Implementation and Partnerships Mara Nakagawa-Harwood will join Willy Soriney of Pfizer and other panelists for a conversation on Innovative Models for Improving Access and Affordability on 6 September. Read more.
24 September: The Future of Public-Private Partnerships for NCDs: Collaboration in the Age of UHC
Following the United Nations High-Level Meeting on UHC, Access Accelerated will host a side event on new ways of working together to advance NCD health under the framework of UHC. See the full event invitation, including confirmed speakers, below and RSVP here.
Please contact us at AccessAccelerated@webershandwick.com with any questions and follow the conversation around industry actions to tackle NCDs on Twitter at @NCDAccess and on our website www.accessaccelerated.org