Spahn: “Strong German network for global health”

Global Health Hub Germany awards ceremony of New Ideas for Global Health competition

What might innovative solutions for global health challenges look like? This was the question central to an ideas competition called for by Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn. Today, the three winning teams presented their ideas in Berlin and received their awards.

The ideas competition invited the members of the Global Health Hub – now over 600 and counting – to form cross-stakeholder project teams to jointly develop project ideas to solve global health challenges. At the end of November, a panel of experts then selected the top three project ideas. The selected projects range from topics as diverse as an app to pay for healthcare services, the promotion of Global Health at German medical schools and a database on project partnerships.

Short description of the winning project ideas

Access to health care and protection against medical impoverishment through the development and implementation of a digital payment platform based on Mobile Money

Head of project: Dr. med. Julius Emmrich (Charité Global Health/Department of Neurology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Ärzte für Madagaskar e.V.) and Dr. Samuel Knauss (co-lead)

Stakeholder groups: Science and civil society

Every year around 100 million people fall into financial hardship and extreme poverty due to illness, on account of having to pay for medical services out of their own savings. A large proportion of the population in low and medium income countries has no access to health insurance or comprehensive state-funded healthcare. The most frequent way of paying for healthcare services is out of their own pocket. The project idea is being implemented in Madagascar, where roughly 90% of the population does not have health insurance. Especially their poor and low earners only have at their disposal an administration-intensive, paper-based healthcare financing system. This project idea makes use of the advantages of digitalisation: The mTomady app, for instance, simplifies the process of taking out an insurance policy as well as paying premiums via mobile phone and taking advantage of health care services for those already insured. The project thereby employs new technology innovatively to facilitate and improve access to the healthcare system.

“How to – Global Health Education”: Strengthening global health curricula through student initiatives

Head of project: Annika Kreitlow (Medicine & Political Science)

Stakeholder groups: Science and youth

In Germany, the topic of global health is barely being taught in the context of a medical degree. Since, in a globalised world, health must always also be looked at and understood from a global perspective, it is essential that young people have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge on this topic during their medical studies. The project idea aims to permanently establish global health in the curricula at medical faculties. To this end, the team wishes to connect students and tutors, exchange experiences and knowledge, and drive the implementation of relevant curricula at medical schools. Through student initiative, over the last few years elective courses on “Global Health” have been initiated at the universities of Leipzig and Hanover. Based on these experiences, a freely available compendium was compiled, which is designed to help establish an elective course. This is now to be developed further and become better publicised.

Blockchain-based open-source database “Knowledge Platform for Global Health Partnerships for Effective Cross-sectoral Cooperation” – breaking down silos and improving knowledge-sharing

Head of project: Nathalia Korchakova-Heeb (Managing Director, SDG.17 Consulting GmbH)

Stakeholder groups: Science, business and civil society

In order to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals and universal health coverage, cooperation across stakeholders is needed. However, as yet there is only very little knowledge about existing healthcare partnership projects already being implemented across stakeholder groups. Information that is provided is often very fragmented. If information on this is made available centrally, then it could facilitate partner search and prompt ideas for new projects. The project team would like to build up a blockchain-based open-source database that is available for free. The database would collect data and references on successful partnership projects and will thereby promote partnerships in the health sector further. The project will initially focus on Germany, but can in future also be expanded internationally.

Background

In February 2019, the Global Health Hub Germany was founded by the Federal Ministry of Health as an independent network. All stakeholders in Germany who are interested in and committed to Global Health can join this hub to exchange information and bring about new projects and partnerships. This hub of now 600 members includes 470 individuals as well as 159 organisations from business, NGOs, think tanks, youth, the private sector, charities/foundations and the parliamentary sphere. All members work toward global health in some form, but possess widely differing backgrounds, such as the fields of agriculture, climate, environment, health or water.

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