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Japan’s Global Health Efforts Provide Model For Fighting Disease, But Sustained Funding Needed

“In the days leading up to this year’s G8 summit, we look to members of the G8 to follow through on their commitments from past meetings — particularly as they relate to improvements to global health and welfare,” Tsutomu Takeuchi, a professor emeritus at Keio University, and Alvaro Arzú Irigoyen, president of Guatemala from 1996-2000 and current mayor of Guatemala City and a neglected tropical disease (NTD) special envoy for the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, write in the Huffington Post’s “The Big Push” blog. “Tackling diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, as well as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) is not only critical to the G8’s work to improve global health, but also to reduce poverty and inequality,” they continue. “To see the benefits of sustained commitment to international development through G8 leadership, we can look to Japan’s efforts to control infectious disease at the global level,” they state, and provide an overview of these efforts.

“Along with Japan, the United States and United Kingdom among others have been great advocates and sponsors of the important task of improving global health and preventing infectious disease. But there are more actions that all G8 members should take,” Takeuchi and Irigoyen write and provide examples of those actions. “As we can see from successes in Japan, and in Latin America and the Caribbean, stopping infectious disease is a goal we can achieve within a matter of years, not a generation or lifetime,” they state, adding, “But this can only be possible with the continued support from Japan and other members of the G8.” They conclude, “Eliminating these diseases as public health threats by the end of the decade will require new commitments as well as sustained investments from existing partners and countries fighting these diseases” (6/11).