UN High-Level Political Forum

With 30 years of experience as a neurologist, James C. Johnston, MD JD is the Founder and Director of Global NeuroCare® and serves as a Partner with GlobalNeurology®, organizations dedicated to advancing the field on a global scale. Dr. James C. Johnston is uniquely qualified through his medical and legal training and experience to address international medical law concerns that impact healthcare. Dr. Mehila Zebenigus is a board-certified internist and neurologist in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Director of the largest private neurology clinic in eastern Africa.

Serving as Delegates for Global NeuroCare at the United Nations, they provide expert analysis on neurological care in developing nations and makes policy recommendations to intergovernmental organizations. Mehila Zebenigus, MD and James C. Johnston, MD JD, recently published statements for the UN Economic and Social Council on improving access to healthcare as a means of poverty reduction, and for the UN Commission for Social Development pointing out that equitable access to essential, affordable, quality healthcare is an absolute prerequisite for implementing more comprehensive social protection policies.

Drs. Zebenigus and Johnston will present recommendations to the upcoming High Level Political Forum (HLPF) explaining how improving healthcare underpins the ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This HLPF serves as the central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, providing for full and effective participation of all States Members of the UN and States members of specialized agencies. Forty-seven countries will present voluntary reviews including 17 in Africa.

Drs. Zebenigus and Johnston, both serving as Directors of Global NeuroCare®, will focus on how following their recommendations “will ensure government, private sector, non-government organizations and international and local communities effectively engage in an integrated, multi-faceted, cross-sector approach to implementing sustainable social protection policies, promulgated through cooperative alliances with a goal of attaining universal healthcare coverage including access to healthcare services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and vaccines [SDG 3.8], particularly in developing regions [SDG 3(c)], which will play a critical role in poverty reduction [SDG 1], serve to advance overall health capacity and security [SDG 3(d)], reduce maternal and childhood morbidity and mortality [SDG 3.1, 3.2], decrease communicable and non-communicable diseases [SDG 3.3, 3.4], diminish deaths and injuries from accidents [SDG 3.6], promote social protection systems [SDG 1.3] to progressively achieve greater equality [SDG 10.4], eliminate harmful practices including gender inequality [SDG 5.4], and stimulate economic growth [SDG 8.5].” [Johnston JC and Zebenigus M. UN E/CN.5/2019/NGO/33].

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