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UN General Assembly in New York – Finland to emphasise the role of strong health systems in pandemics and in achieving universal health coverage 

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 19.9.2023 10.17
News item

The high-level week of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly in New York includes high-level meetings on pandemics and universal health coverage. State Secretary Laura Rissanen will represent Finland at these meetings. 

The aim of the high-level meetings is to encourage state policy-makers to commit to investing in health and strengthening of health systems. Health is also part of many other Sustainable Development Goals, such as poverty alleviation, gender equality and reduction of inequality. 

“Health as a human right plays a key role in pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. It is also an important starting point for achieving universal health coverage. In its addresses, Finland will emphasise, for example, the importance of gender equality,” says State Secretary Laura Rissanen. 

At the high-level meeting on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, Finland will stress how important political leadership, multisectoral cooperation and strong health services and systems are.  
The COVID-19 pandemic underlined the importance of multilateral cooperation, and Finland considers global solidarity to be an important part of the work to combat pandemics. Finland is committed to strengthening emergency preparedness and response, and participates in international negotiations held e.g. by the WHO. 

Health as a human right

The aim of universal health coverage (UHC) is to ensure that all people have access to essential and high-quality health services. Strong, fair and sustainably funded health systems have also proved to be important during pandemics. Finland supports efforts to achieve universal health coverage and stresses that the starting point should be health as a human right. Finland considers that the rights of women and girls are also essential elements in this work. At the high-level meeting on universal health coverage, Finland aims to safeguard the role of sexual and reproductive health and rights. 


Laura Rissanen, State Secretary (Secretary Riikka Mononen, tel. +358 295 163 531)

Outi Kuivasniemi, Deputy Director for International Affairs, tel. +358 295 163 117

Pasi Korhonen, Director of EU and International Affairs, tel. +358 295 163 175 

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