Arab News Japan
Japan on Thursday awarded the co-founder of Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates with the highest honor, the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun for his notable contributions in the field of global health.
The award was presented by Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, who expressed his gratitude for the significant contributions that Gates has made to global health over the years and congratulated him on receiving the Decoration.
While meeting with Hayashi during the ceremony, Gates expressed his gratitude for receiving the decoration and emphasized his desire to maintain perusing a role in global health in close cooperation with Japan, while calling on the country to play a bigger role in global health and to increase aid. He applauded Japan for their leadership and the contributions issued by the Government in global health, and said that that Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation looks forward to working with Japan on international frameworks such as the Global Fund, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) and the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT).
Hayashi then expressed his hope that the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment meeting that will take place in September will aid in accelerating the efforts towards strengthening health systems, improve global pandemic preparedness, and contribute to the implementation of responsive measures for the three major infectious diseases.
Both agreed to continue working closely on issues including the three major infectious diseases, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and polioviruses, while looking forward to the G7 Hiroshima Summit that will be chaired by Japan next year and towards the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which is an issue that Japan has previously raised to the top of the global health agenda. In 2016, when Japan last held the G7 presidency, much of its focus was on global health and, particularly, on UHC.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), UHC “means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.”
The issue of UHC was also addressed by Gates in a speech in Tokyo earlier on Thursday, where he said that he believes that Tokyo will have an opportunity to set an ambitious agenda for countries providing funds for infectious disease measures, reiterating the importance of this objective.
In his speech, Gates underlined the need for Japan and other countries to expand their support to strengthen measures against infectious diseases around the world. He also said that investment to improve the global health care environment is not only morally correct but also valuable for economic growth and security.