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The Forum of International Respiratory Societies attends United Nations hearing on universal health coverage

On 29 April 2019, the Forum of International Respiratory (FIRS) attended and presented comments at the interactive multi-stakeholder hearing at the United Nations in New York. The hearing was part of the preparatory process for the UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which will take place on 23 September 2019 in New York.

“Universal Health Coverage” is a call for more effective and universal medical care, where all people receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship.

Universal coverage is particularly important to persons with respiratory disease. For example, a break in the supply of medicine for a patient with tuberculosis could cause the development of drug resistance, which carries serious consequences. The abrupt unavailability of asthma medicine could cause severe suffering and even death. Lack of health care provider availability usually means delay in diagnosis, which could be fatal for lung cancer patients.

The hearing provided a unique opportunity to mobilise voices from a broad range of multi-sectoral stakeholders. FIRS presented comments, emphasising the following essential parts of UHC:

The outcome of the hearing will inform the preparation of the zero-draft political declaration on UHC that will be negotiated by Member States.