Global Health Forum of Boao Forum for Asia
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Kwon Deok-cheol, Minister of Health and Welfare of South Korea, delivers a speech on Global Health Community for all

Time: 2023-03-08 10:06:48Views: Source: BFA


On the morning of June 2, the first plenary of the 2nd Global Health Forum of Boao Forum for Asia took place, themed on “Health in all policies”. Kwon Deok-cheol, Minister of Health and Welfare of South Korea, addressed the plenary.


Minister Kwon Deok-cheol said, the once-in-a-century pandemic has been an agonizing experience to the entire world. Countries have been striving for sustainable development, while the pandemic has made the international community’s progress towards sustainable development at risk of faltering. Nevertheless, we must build a better future out of this crisis with goals of establishing an even more inclusive and sustainable health system and industry.


In this light, he believed, “Health in all policies” , the agenda for the first plenary, is very timely and meaningful. The “Health in all policies” framework is the cornerstone of realizing the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals. It is also the underlying concept for the Health Plan 2030 for Korea. In order to build a Post-COVID era health system based on the “Health in all policies”, the focus should be on health equity and health-friendly environment.


First, health equity, which refers to everyone’s right to be healthy, regardless of gender, place of living and income level, is a core element of the “Health in all policies” framework. The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that the socially vulnerable like the elderly, women and the poor are more susceptible to infectious disease and disasters, rendering a tackling health inequality the task of our times.


In this vein, the Korean government has been making multi-faceted efforts to eliminate health inequality. This year, the ministry announced the Health Plan 2030, which maps out health policy goals and directions for the next decade. Under the vision of “society where everyone stays healthy forever”, this Plan incorporates measures to tackle inequality across gender, regions and income brackets. Stronger infrastructure, tuberculosis test for vulnerable household children, tailored program for tobacco cessation and alcoholic consumption reduction are among the many far-reaching policies and initiatives. They are aimed at reducing the healthy life expectancy gap between the top 20% and the bottom 20% income brackets from 8.1 to 7.6 within a decade.

Second, “Health in all policies” will succeed when there is a health-friendly environment in place. If everyone is to realize their potential for health and well-being to their utmost, the right social, physical and economic environment should be set, which falls under the fundamental duty of the government. The Korean government is endeavoring to create a health-friendly environment by adopting certificates for health-oriented companies and financial incentives for healthy lifestyles, strengthening control for health hazard materis and considering an introduction of health impact assessments, which are among many of the legal and institutional efforts.


In addition to these efforts within Korea, “Health in all policies” require enhanced cross-border cooperation. The Korean government will work toward a better alignment and harmony between global initiatives including UN SDGs and domestic health policies. To this end, in all health areas, we will promote sharing of best practices with other governments and international organizations, and exchange of knowledge and expertise on laws, institutions, and infrastructure, as well as deepening cooperation in various ways.