UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during the Opening Session of the Climate Change Summit at the United Nations in New York City on Sept. 23, 2014. Timothy A. Clary—AFP/Getty Images

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during the Opening Session of the Climate Change Summit at the United Nations in New York City on Sept. 23, 2014. Timothy A. Clary—AFP/Getty Images

NEW YORK – As the United Nations General Assembly commenced this week in New York, a passionate call for low and middle income countries to increase their spending on health was launched by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday evening, reports the Global Fund press-release.

Hosting an event called “Domestic Financing for Health: Invest to Save,” President Kenyatta laid the groundwork for a strong partnership for increased investments in health, bringing together leaders from several African countries, the African Union, United Nations Foundation and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Countries implementing health programs financed by international funders are playing a bigger role in financing health. This has led to a tremendous impact on global health. Last year during the Global Fund replenishment conference, which galvanises resources for the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, several African countries made significant commitments to increasing their investments in response to the diseases and in strengthening health systems in their countries.

In the coming years, these countries are expected to take a leading role not only in urging the world to spend more in fighting diseases but also in investing more of their own money toward saving lives of their people.

Lawrence H. Summers, Professor and President Emeritus at Harvard University, who now  chairs the Lancet Commission on Investing in Health, GlobalHealth2035.org, also spoke at the event. He argued that today we have the technology and financial means to close the health gap between poorer and richer nations, to achieve what he is calling “a grand convergence in health.”

“The grand convergence would dramatically reduce infectious, maternal and child deaths within one generation, averting 10 million deaths in 2035,” Dr. Summers said. “Governments in low and middle income countries must invest in health. Just 1 percent of their economic growth over the next two decades would fund the grand convergence. The global community must support poorer countries and spearhead the search for new technologies.»

Other panelists included Dr. Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund, and Tumusiime Peace, the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union.

The full text of the press-release can be found on the Global Fund web-site.