High-level congress on global health highlights Germany’s leadership in the sector
A global health congress in Berlin hosted by the governing Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) parties on May 8, 2019 focused on the topic of strengthening global health and implementing the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). High-ranking German officials, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and ministers of health, research and education, and economic cooperation and development, attended. The panelists and audience included members of the German parliament, representatives of civil society, research, and academia.
In her speech, Chancellor Merkel underlined the shared national and global responsibility in achieving global health for all, pointing to the World Health Organization's 'Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being' that she and her Norwegian and Ghanaian counterparts have supported. The WHO will present the Action Plan during the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019.
Another key speaker, Director-General of the WHO Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, highlighted the German government's commitment to global health and WHO in particular. He advocated for further engagement, particularly with regards to the ongoing Ebola crisis and investment in emergency preparedness.
German development minister Gerd Müller recalled the major health threats that need to be tackled: recurring epidemics, the spread of malaria, diabetes, tuberculosis, and antibiotic resistance. He called for the establishment of basic health structures in developing countries, the empowerment of women, and digitalization of health knowledge for wider dissemination. Meanwhile, German Research Minister Anja Karliczek pushed for more investments in global health research and new partnerships on drug development, in order to leverage synergies between governmental and non-governmental donors.