On Thursday, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands opened the FT Future of Health Coverage event in Amsterdam delivering remarks in her role as the United Nations’ Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development.
She began her remarks discussing the lack of affordable healthcare across the globe, “At least half of the world’s population is unable to obtain essential health services. The stark reality is that the basic human need of healthcare is too expensive for many households to afford, and many people have to pay out of pocket for their health expenditures.
“Roughly 100 million people globally are pushed into extreme poverty every year due to health expenses. When you are poor, you are more likely to have poorer health. In turn, poor health pulls you deeper into poverty. This is a vicious cycle that we need to break.”
The Queen went on to speak about how financial services are able to assist people in acquiring better health care and allow good health and well-being to be accessible to everyone.
“Financial services—such as savings, payments, credit and health insurance—can play an important role in helping people finance and manage healthcare expenses when they or their family members fall ill. But they can also support the provision of quality of health services,” she said.
Her Majesty also offered two solutions to the lack of affordable and accessible healthcare across the globe. The first was having digital services “simplify and reduce costs of insurance coverage for large portions of people previously uncovered.”
The second involved small business loans providing help to “private health providers expand their business and improve the quality of their services—which of course means taking better care of more patients.”
The Queen concluded by saying, “Modern advances in technology are creating great opportunities to ensure synergy between financial inclusion and health. I encourage you to capitalise on that technology so that good health and well-being are accessible to everyone.
“I am very happy to be attending this event—because this is actually why I do what I do, so that through financial inclusion, we can deliver what really matters: opportunities, protection and health.”
You can read her full speech here.
According to FT Future of Health Coverage, the conference aimed to “stimulate transformative, cutting edge thinking on how best to adopt mobile technology for the delivery of health systems that benefit millions of people lacking access to health.”
It was organised by the Financial Times, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Joep Lange Institute to discuss ways to revolutionise health financing by using mobile technology.
Other speakers included Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the Senior Minister from Ghana; Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation; and Anders Nordström, the Swedish Ambassador for Global Health and Stockholm Ministry for Foreign Affairs.