Global health has become a topic of increased political and public interest. One reason is that disease outbreaks, such as the Ebola crisis in West Africa a few years ago or the one happening right now in the Democratic Republic of Congo, have attracted international attention. In response, Germany is stepping up its leadership role in global health, putting it high on the international agenda.
Developing a new Global Health Strategy
To further shape Germany's international leadership in this area, the German Government will develop a new strategy for global health. The German Ministry of Health is leading this process, working in close partnership with other relevant ministries. The development process began on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, when the German Ministry of Health hosted an official launching event. Lutz Stroppe, State Secretary of the German Ministry of Health, welcomed 145 participants to the kick-off meeting at the GIZ-Haus in Berlin, amongst them representatives of academia, civil society, the private sector and youth.
Looking back on Germany’s achievements to date
During he kick-off meeting, non-state actors and representatives of the various ministries discussed Germany’s current engagement. Dagmar Lohan of the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, underlined that Germany has already achieved a lot in the last years through its bi- and multilateral engagement. ‘We financed the vaccination of over 28 million children, we averted 3 million HIV-, tuberculosis- and malaria-related deaths and we ensured that over 4 million women had safe, attended births, to name but a few results. All of our efforts contribute to the same goal: strengthening health systems as a whole - a long-term process which requires significant investments. We have therefore continuously increased our health sector funding, reaching 1.034 million Euro in 2016.‘
Identifying future challenges and opportunities
In the subsequent working groups, participants developed initial ideas on goals and opportunities for the new Global Health Strategy. They discussed current challenges, Germany’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as possible structures for implementing the new strategy. All participants welcomed the opportunity to exchange and brainstorm together.
The commitment and the shared positive spirit of the various actors became very clear at the event. There was a great interest among all participants to get involved and take part in the development of the strategy.
As a next step, non-state stakeholder groups have the opportunity to outline their ideas and priorities for the Global Health Strategy in position papers. To facilitate this process, coordinators have been appointed for each of these groups which represent civil society, think tanks, private sector, academia and youth, similar to the engagement groups that were consulted in the preparation of the G20 summit in 2017.
At an event in early September 2018, the coordinators will present the position papers and hand them over to the German Government. After this, the interministerial discussions and coordination on the priorities and objectives of the strategy will begin. The aim is for the cabinet to adopt the new strategy by the end of 2019.