Japan and The Stop TB Partnership - strengthening the relationship to hit UN HLM on TB targets


Japan strengthens its commitment to the Stop TB Partnership towards reaching UNHLM on TB targets

August 2019, Tokyo, Japan - Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership recently spent a week in Japan to attend the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). While there, she took time out from the conference to meet with the Government of Japan’s Vice Minister of Health Dr. Yasuhiro Suzuki (pictured with Dr. Ditiu) to discuss ramping up the global fight against TB through closer collaboration in the already successful young partnership between Japan and the Stop TB Partnership.

The Government of Japan began supporting the Stop TB Partnership in 2019 through funding to develop innovative initiatives to improve TB service delivery and wider access to new TB tools for all who need it. Dr. Ditiu and Dr. Suzuki pledged to work together to follow-through on current projects, ensuring access to diagnosis and treatment for people with TB, while encouraging the private sector from start-ups and SME’s, to larger corporations, to source and develop new TB technology and approaches that work directly towards reaching the targets set at the United Nations High Level Meeting (UNHLM) on TB in New York last year, an historic event in which Japan served as co-facilitator.

“We share a close and very concrete partnership with the Japanese government, private sector stakeholders and NGOs. Through its historic reduction of TB mortality and incidence, Japan has shown the world what can be achieved through coordinating and supporting key sectors in the country.” said Dr. Ditiu. She continued “Japan has a highly progressive research and development environment, numerous private sector manufacturers that develop tools that are essential for TB diagnosis and treatment, and a health sector with expertise in beating TB. What we can achieve by working closer together and building on each other’s strengths holds great potential for future developments in the fight against TB.”

At the Opening Session of TICAD 7 on August 28th, Japan’s Prime Minister Mr. Shinzo Abe emphasized Japan’s commitment to global health by placing a high value on human security and he underlined the importance of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as “a quintessential example of ‘Brand Japan’. Up until the late 1940’s, Japan struggled with a TB epidemic, but drastically reduced prevalence of the disease through a UHC/primary health care concept that ensured availability of TB medicines and diagnostics to all who needed it, a model that the Stop TB Partnership and its partners now strongly advocate for globally.

In the same week, Dr. Ditiu also met the Government of Japan’s Mr Shigeaki Okamoto, Administrative Vice Minister of Finance, as part of a global health delegations meeting organized by RESULTS Japan where the delegates reported their achievements and outcomes of TICAD 7 and presented their future plan for health in Africa.

The Stop TB Partnership was also front and center at Mitsubishi UFJ Research & Consulting Co., Ltd.’s official TICAD 7 side event on “Digital Health & Data-Driven Innovation” and Nikkei Inc.’s “Asia Africa Conference on Communicable Diseases 2019.” Dr. Ditiu strongly advocated for the need to strategically and appropriately engage private sector companies, both start-ups and established manufacturers, particularly from Japan and high TB burden countries, that are developing emerging technological solutions (e.g., artificial intelligence, blockchain, digital health solutions, tele-care/tele-medicine, etc.).

"These solutions will be critical in our collective efforts to make it as easy as possible for all people, no matter who they are or where they live, to access and receive affordable and quality care." said Dr. Ditiu, "Only then, can we achieve UHC and end TB by 2030."