The Global Conference on Primary Health Care, organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), was held in Astana, Kazakhstan between October 25-26. From it emerged the Declaration of Astana, a commitment by member states to, among other pledges, work to reduce the cost of drugs in their country. The Declaration’s content will be communicated to the United Nations General Assembly at the High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in mid 2019.
The Declaration of Astana has been well received by non-governmental organizations, professional and academic groups, and global health and development institutions. In signing the declaration, states commit to cutting drug costs and to advancing in four key areas of primary health: pursuing health-centered policy decisions, making primary health care sustainable, placing decision-making in the hands of citizens, and stakeholder support for national plans and strategies.
The document calls for solidarity and cooperation among governments, international health organizations and the United Nations Children’s Fund, among other stakeholders. Countries are expected to periodically review the implementation of the agreements in order to ensure the UHC.