Ticad Discusses Access To Basic Health Services

TICAD discusses access to basic health services

The second day of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD, is underway. Thursday's focus is on the biggest hurdles preventing economic growth and social development in many parts of Africa.

The main topic of the session is improving access to basic medical and health services despite widespread poverty.

As a way to tackle this issue, universal health coverage -- the principle that everyone has access to health care without financial hardship -- is expected to garner the most buzz at the conference.

The Japanese government promised to help bring universal health coverage to 3 million Africans through a government-sponsored program over the next three years.

Another issue delegates are discussing is preventing infectious diseases, such as the Ebola virus, from spreading.

The World Health Organization declared the recent outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo an international health emergency in July.

Tokyo has sent Japan's disaster relief team to DRC to help the country deal with the infectious disease.

The WHO's official for the Africa region says some private clinics in particular didn't meet health standards and that there is much work to be done in reforming the system.

WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said, "The standard of hygiene was so poor that these private clinics became also the place where people were infected with Ebola.

Japan is the strong voice of supporting the improvement of functioning of health systems in countries, and promoting strong universal health coverage. So we value this role."

Along with health care, climate change and the environment will be other dominant topics.

Attendees will also likely discuss a pledge to reduce plastic waste, one of the major causes of ocean pollution -- and an issue countries around the world are grappling with.

The outcome of today's discussions will be included in a declaration on Friday, the final day of the conference.