Policy Updates

Each week, Donor Tracker's team of country-based experts bring you the most important policy and funding news across issue areas in the form of Policy Updates.

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Japan accelerates access to new treatments for neglected diseases

June 9, 2024 | Japan, Global Health R&D, Global Health | Share this update

On June 9, 2024, Japan global health officials and partners met to reach consensus on a new global health funding approach of targeted investment and early-stage access to accelerate access to new treatments for neglected diseases, focusing on a pediatric treatment for schistosomiasis, a tropical disease affecting around 50 million children.

The initiative followed approvals from the European Medicines Agency and the WHO. Key stakeholders, including Japan’s ministries of Foreign Affairs and Health, have strategized in Tokyo for the equitable distribution of the new medicine.

The Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium, led by Merck and initiated by Astellas Pharma in Japan, developed the schistosomiasis drug with support from the Japan-based GHIT Fund, the EDCTP, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Collaborations with health ministries in Kenya, Ivory Coast, and Uganda have focused on understanding social dynamics and strengthening health systems to ensure readiness for the treatment’s rollout. Japan’s model of integrating research, development, and access aims to set a new standard for global health initiatives, prioritizing science, access, and equity to transform the global health landscape and save lives.

News article - Nikkei Asia

Japan provides US$12 million for medical equipment in Vietnam

May 29, 2024 | Japan, Global Health | Share this update

On May 29, 2024, Japan signed a US$12 million grant agreement with Vietnam to procure medical equipment for the country’s National Cancer Hospital.

Vietnam has experienced an epidemiological transition, where the leading cause of death has shifted from infectious diseases to non-communicable diseases.

The National Cancer Hospital is the country’s largest cancer center and sees nearly 400,000 patients each year. The grant will be used to enhance cancer diagnosis and prevention systems, while also contributing to UN SDG #3

Press release - Japan International Cooperation Agency

Japan joins Alliance for Transformative Action on Climate, Health

May 28, 2024 | Japan, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On May 28, 2024, Japan announced its intent to join the ATACH at the 77th World Health Assembly.

At COP28 in December 2023, Japan, along with 142 other countries, adopted the COP28 UAE Climate and Health Declaration to raise awareness of climate change’s health impacts and promote international cooperation. The World Health Assembly also adopted the WHO’s 14th General Programme of Work for 2025-2028, which emphasizes climate change and health among its strategic objectives.

Japan has been advancing policies to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, such as the GX2040 Vision and the Basic Energy Plan. The Osaka Blue Ocean Vision and the revised SDGs Implementation Plan also underscore the interconnectedness of global challenges and the importance of planetary health.

By joining ATACH, Japan aims to:

  • Build climate-resilient healthcare systems;
  • Promote sustainable low-carbon healthcare;
  • Address the comprehensive interaction between climate change and health;
  • Enhance research and cooperation on health and climate change; and
  • Expand investments in climate and health initiatives.

Japan’s participation in ATACH is expected to involve multiple government ministries and promote cross-sectoral efforts to tackle planetary health challenges, including the impacts of chemicals, waste, and pollution, and to ensure a sustainable environment for health.

Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI)

Japanese youth call on government to bolster global health efforts

May 27, 2024 | Japan, Global Health, Global Health R&D | Share this update

On May 27, 2024, in Tokyo’s Nagatacho district, a Policy Pitch event was held where youth representatives directly presented policy proposals to address global health issues.

Organized by the policy platform provider PoliPoli, the event focused on pressing global health challenges such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, polio, NTDs, MNCH, and vaccine distribution.

West African startup SORA Technology emphasized the importance of collaborating with local health ministries in budget allocation and strategic planning, highlighting the example of France providing technical support for budget proposals to the Global Fund in francophone African countries.

A student group also advocated for the widespread adoption of a mother-child handbook app to improve maternal and child health management in developing countries. The group supported financial contributions to Gavi and the distribution of pentavalent vaccines to eradicate polio. Ryota Torogi, representing NTDs Youth, urged the Japanese government to prioritize NTDs, citing their high cost-effectiveness. Former Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Kiyoshi Odawara expressed strong support for the initiative.

Politicians and experts in attendance discussed the challenges and background of the proposed policies, seeking concrete evidence and implementation plans. The event underscored the importance of involving NGOs, startups, and young leaders in global health policymaking, highlighting Japan’s role in addressing international health issues through innovative solutions and strategic partnerships.

News article - Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese)

G7 finance ministers call on donors to coordinate efforts, increase investments

May 25, 2024 | UK, France, Canada, Japan, US, Italy, Germany, EUI, Global Health, Climate, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Nutritious Food Systems | Share this update

On May 23-25, 2024, the G7 Ministers of Finance met at a summit in Stresa, Italy, where the ministers voiced support for contributions to the IDA, WHO, Gavi, and the Global Fund in the resulting communiqué.

The G7 ministers supported efforts towards a successful 21st replenishment of the IDA by the end of 2024 through an ambitious policy and financing package. Notably, they did not give a concrete signal that the critical US$100 billion threshold requested by the World Bank will be crossed, nor any indication of the US$120 billion expected by African leaders.

The ministers reaffirmed their dedication to strengthening the governance and finance of the global health architecture and voiced support for refinancing processes of several GHIs, such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the WHO, and the Global Fund, and expressed support for the Pandemic Fund. The communiqué called on the donor community to coordinate efforts and increase investments in global health in line with their capacities to ensure sustainable funding and maximize the impact of available resources.

Following the summit, the C7 pointed out the G7's lack of ambition and financial commitment to international development, including climate adaptation. International civil society organizations criticized the lack of any reference to allocating SDRs to global solidarity.

G7 Ministers of FinanceC7 statement

Japan provides additional US$45 million for humanitarian assistance in Palestine

May 23, 2024 | Japan, Global Health | Share this update

On May 23, 2024, Japan confirmed an additional US$45 million for humanitarian assistance in Palestine and confirmed its resumption of support to UNRWA.

US$35 million will come from Japan's supplementary budget for 2024. The funds will be used to address the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which has been further exacerbated by the recent expansion of military activities in Rafah.

The remaining US$10 million is earmarked for the emergency health response in Gaza, where what remains of the health system is struggling to meet surging demand. The funds will be provided through the WHO and will be used to supply essential medications, medical equipment, and supplies.

Press release - United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near EastPress release - World Health Organization

Japan’s private sector calls for greater ODA spending on health

May 20, 2024 | Japan, Global Health, Global Health R&D | Share this update

On May 20, 2024, a group of business leaders supporting global health visited Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa to present a request for expanding Japan’s ODA spending in the global health sector, specifically to strengthen partnerships and increase contributions to international organizations.

The business leaders emphasized five key actions:

  • Increasing Japan’s ODA spending in global health;
  • Strategically positioning global health support in diplomatic policies;
  • Expanding contributions to international health organizations, promoting procurement of Japanese products by these organizations; and
  • Incorporating outcomes from expert meetings on new development funding into policy.

Japan’s ODA spending in global health has significantly increased since 2019, establishing Japan as the world’s third-largest contributor in this field by 2022. Despite the decline of ODA spending related to the COVID-19 pandemic, expanding ODA spending is still critical to maintain Japan’s international presence in global health.

The request highlighted the importance of strategic support in this sector, particularly in collaboration with LIC countries, and calls for increased funding to organizations like the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund, and CEPI to enhance Japan’s influence and the global procurement of Japanese products and services.

Business leaders, including those from Toyota Tsusho, NEC, Eisai, Fujifilm, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, shared messages highlighting their contributions to global health and the benefits of increased government support. They emphasized the role of innovative partnerships, private sector investments, and the need for enhanced cooperation between government and international organizations to improve health outcomes globally and promote Japan’s leadership.

Press release - PR Times (in Japanese)

C7 releases international civil society communiqué around seven key issues

May 15, 2024 | Italy, Germany, EUI, Japan, Canada, US, France, UK, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Nutritious Food Systems, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, Family Planning, WASH & Sanitation, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On May 14-15, 2024, the C7 summit was held at the UN FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, organized by the Italian Civil Society Coalition that led, coordinated, and moderated the C7 2024 process.

Approximately 400 global representatives took part in the event, as well as international decision-makers, including FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu, Italian G7 sherpa Ambassador Elisabetta Belloni, Cardinal, President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Pope’s envoy for the Russian-Ukrainian conflict Matteo Maria Zuppi, and Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign Marina Ponti.

The official C7 communiqué that listed the international civil society recommendation to the G7’s Leaders around seven key issues was released at the event, which included:

  • Economic justice and transformation;
  • Climate, energy transformation, and environmental justice;
  • Global health;
  • Principled humanitarian assistance;
  • Peace, common security, and nuclear disarmament;
  • Human mobility and migration; and
  • Food justice and food systems transformation.
C7 communiqué

Japan provides US$7 million to Afghanistan for UNICEF childhood infectious disease prevention programme

May 14, 2024 | Japan, Family Planning, Global Health, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health | Share this update

On May 14, 2024, Japan signed an agreement with UNICEF to provide US$7 million in grant assistance for the Childhood Infectious Disease Prevention Program.

Afghanistan has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world, much of which is attributable to vaccine-preventable diseases. The funds will be used to support routine immunization efforts and to procure polio vaccines.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (in Japanese)

Japan’s GHIT Fund invests US$11 million in new drugs for malaria, NTDs

May 9, 2024 | Japan, Global Health R&D, Global Health | Share this update

On May 9, 2024, the Tokyo-based GHIT Fund announced an investment of JPY1.6 billion (US$11 million) in new drugs for malaria and NTDs.

The funding will be divided across four projects:

  • Development of a malaria chemoprevention drug;
  • Development of a malaria therapeutic drug;
  • Development of drugs for onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis; and
  • Development of a treatment for Chagas disease.

The GHIT Fund plays a vital role in accelerating R&D and has supported over 180 development partners since 2013. The additional funding is expected to contribute to its overarching goal of developing an environment that facilitates the rapid delivery of products to patients in need.

Press release - GHIT Fund






US$ amounts are cited directly from sources; in the absence of an official conversion, they are calculated using the previous week's average of the US Federal Reserve's daily exchange rates.

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