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Harper Government supports universal health care and advances mental health at the World Health Assembly

News Release
May 21, 2012
For immediate release

Geneva, Switzerland – The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today affirmed the Government of Canada’s commitment to universal health coverage during the plenary session of the 65th World Health Assembly.

“Canada has long been a supporter of universal health coverage, and remains strongly committed to a publicly-financed system that ensures all Canadians benefit from access to health services based on need, not the ability to pay,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “All countries have the responsibility to develop health systems that are accountable for results to ensure services are delivered in a cost-effective way that leads to better and more equitable health outcomes.”The Minister’s statement also included Canada’s support for food safety; for accelerating progress on maternal, newborn and child health, and the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. Canada also recognized the World Health Organization’s (WHO) essential role as the leader in global health, able to respond to the most pressing health needs.

During the Assembly, Minister Aglukkaq will also lead a roundtable meeting with health officials representing other countries to discuss approaches, challenges and solutions to addressing mental health. Dr. David Goldbloom, Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada attended the World Health Assembly and the round table on mental health as an advisor to Minister Aglukkaq.

As well, Minister Aglukkaq was pleased to renew a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Republic of Brazil. Extending to 2017, the Memorandum of Understanding continues joint collaboration between Canada and Brazil in areas such as chronic non-communicable disease; communicable disease; e-health; emergency preparedness and response; indigenous health; safety and quality of health products, food, cosmetics and tobacco control.

The Minister met with Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization, and had a number of bilateral meetings with health ministers from other countries to discuss health issues and opportunities for working together in the future.

The World Health Assembly is the main governing body of the World Health Organization, representing over 194 countries.

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Media Enquiries:

Health Canada
(613) 957-2983

Cailin Rodgers
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Public Enquiries:
(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709