G7 Health Ministers' Meeting in Berlin

On 8 and 9 October 2015, the Health Ministers of the seven leading industrialised nations – the USA, Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Canada and Germany – met in Berlin at the invitation of Germany's Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe. They adopted a Declaration addressing Antimicrobial Resistance and agreed to co-operate more closely on controlling global health emergencies. 

Photo: Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe with his counterpart from the USA Sylvia Burwell

Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe and Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services of the USA.

Source: BMG/Photothek

Photo: Statement of Hermann Gröhe and Christian Schmidt, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture

Statement of Hermann Gröhe and Christian Schmidt, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture.

Source: BMG/Schinkel

Photo: G7 Health Ministers' Meeting in Berlin

G7 Health Ministers' Meeting in Berlin

Source: BMG/Photothek

Photo: G7 Health Ministers' Meeting in Berlin

G7 Health Ministers' Meeting in Berlin

Source: BMG/Schinkel

Photo: Federal Minister Hermann Gröhe with his Liberian counterpart Bernice T. Dahn

Federal Minister Hermann Gröhe with his Liberian counterpart Bernice T. Dahn.

Source: BMG/Schinkel

Photo: The WHO's Director-General Dr Margaret Chan

The WHO's Director-General Dr Margaret Chan.

Source: BMG/Photothek

Photo: Group picture with Health Ministers as well as with the President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Alain Beaudet, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis, the OIE's Deputy Director General Dr Monique Eloit, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Christian Schmidt and Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD Stefan Kapferer

Front row, from left to right (Health Ministers): Sylvia Burwell (USA), Marisol Touraine (France), Jeremy Hunt (Great Britain), Hermann Gröhe, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan, Beatrice Lorenzin (Italy), Yasuhisa Shiozaki (Japan) und Krista Outhwaite (President of the Public Health Agency of Canada). Back row (left to right): President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Alain Beaudet, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis, the OIE's Deputy Director General Dr Monique Eloit, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Christian Schmidt, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD Stefan Kapferer

Source: BMG/Photothek

Photo: Hermann Gröhe and his French counterpart Marisol Touraine.

Hermann Gröhe and his French counterpart Marisol Touraine.

Source: BMG/Köhler

Photo: Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe, Federal Minister of Education and Research Dr Johanna Wanka and WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan

Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe, Federal Minister of Education and Research Dr Johanna Wanka and WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan.

Source: BMG/Pump

Photo: Hermann Gröhe, Dr Margaret Chan and Dr Johanna Wanka

Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan and Federal Minister of Education and Research Dr Johanna Wanka

Source: BMG/Pump

A global death toll of more than 700,000 people per year from antimicrobial resistance and last year's devastating Ebola epidemic in West Africa call for concerted action. Consequently, the G7 Health Ministers' Meeting in Berlin saw a lively exchange of ideas and suggestions as well as concrete pledges and promises. 

Now more than ever, we must think of health as global health, because disease is no respecter of national borders. Only joint international efforts will be able to effectively protect our populations, Germany's included, from superbugs and cross-border epidemics. Therefore, it is good to see that we, the Group of Seven Health Minis-ters, are joining forces now to address global health threats. This sends out a strong signal for global health policy.

Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe

Gröhe and his six counterparts underpinned their commitment with the 'Berlin Declaration on Antimicrobial Resistance – Global Union for Antibiotics Research and Development (GUARD)'. It requires that antibiotics may only be used for the purpose of medical treatment after appropriate case-based diagnosis. Vitally, human and veterinary uses will be subject to prescription. To enforce antibiotic stewardship worldwide, the G7 intend to support other countries with weaker health care systems. This commitment also includes greater engagement in research, the development of new antimicrobials, treatment alternatives and rapid diagnostic tools as well as the establishment of a global network of experts on antibiotics. Moreover, exchange in this field will be encouraged through product development partnerships and economic incentives. Also, antibiotics are to be brought to the market faster thanks to harmonised regulatory procedures and technical requirements.

Day 2 of the meeting focused on the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. For countries to be able to respond swiftly and effectively to such crises, they need resilient health care systems. The international community and the G7 will help poorer countries build such systems. Germany's Federal Ministry of Health will lend a hand in setting up robust health care structures, which includes a staff training programme in health emergency management. Moreover, a rapid response team to be formed from epidemiologists and laboratory experts with the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and Bernhard Nocht Institute (BNITM) will provide in-country support as soon as an outbreak emerges. The programme will be launched in 2016 with a funding of four million euros and is intended to run for an initial period of five years.

WHO Reform

Joined by WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan, the G7 Ministers also discussed the role of the World Health Organization. They concurred that its emergency response capacity had to be strengthened, in particular, for instance through a global health emergency fund and a global health emergency task force.

The Group of Seven (G7) is an informal forum for the heads of state and government of seven leading industrialised nations: the USA, Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Canada and Germany. Germany is holding the rotating Presidency in 2015. In their quest to develop constructive solutions to key global policy issues, the Members award great importance to the public health sector. After all, their citizens' health is a value in its own right and, at the same time, a strong driver of socioeconomic growth and stability. For Germany, 'health' has been a priority of this year's G7 Presidency and was already high on the agenda of the Summit at the Bavarian resort of Elmau. 

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