First meeting of G20 Health Ministers in Berlin

20 May 2017. At the invitation of Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe, the first Meeting of Health Ministers of the Group of Twenty leading industrialised and emerging economies (G20) took place in Berlin on 19 and 20 May 2017. Held under the banner of “Together Today for a Healthy Tomorrow – Joint Commitment for Shaping Global Health”, the two-day meeting focused on combating global health hazards.

20. May 2017

The fact that global health is about to become a constant on the G20 agenda is a strong signal we are sending from Berlin today. After all, the well-being of all people – and that goes for industrialised, emerging and developing countries alike – depends on whether or not we manage to effectively address global health challenges. Just like every fire brigade holds regular exercises to prepare for a fire, we too will put regular exercises in place to prepare for health crises. Indeed, now we must make good use of the time to optimise our preparedness. By the end of 2018, the G20 countries committed to lead by example to combat Antimicrobial Resistance by developing and implementing national action plans based on a One-Health approach. We highlighted the importance of prescription and the need for intensifying research efforts, including a better coordination of existing initiatives. At the same time we noted the importance of supporting poorer countries and promoting access to affordable antimicrobials for all patients in need.

Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe

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To be better prepared for future health crises, the G20 Health Ministers, together with representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank, had taken the opportunity to rehearse the event of a transnational outbreak. In ‘Anycountry’, a notional low-income state, there is an outbreak of a deadly disease that is transmitted via the respiratory tract and threatens to spread globally. The crisis exercise had put information flows and decision-making making pathways to the test. How do we ensure that outbreaks of dangerous diseases are promptly reported by the countries concerned? How can we deliver a faster international response? What can the G20 do so that global health crises are quickly contained? And how can the World Health Organization be made stronger?

G20 Crisis Exercise

Here you find the Health Emergency Simulation Exercise Package which was used at the Health Minister' Meeting. It can be used for similar exercise to explore core issues in global health crisis management.

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Germany advocates a further strengthening of the WHO because it has a key role in dealing with global health crises. This is also the purpose of the Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE) set up in 2015, which Germany supports as the largest contributor with some $13 million. Over and above this, for the first time, Germany is making a voluntary additional contribution to the WHO in 2017, with €35 million out of the Federal Ministry of Health budget. The Health Ministry also deploys experts to provide in-country support in crisis situations as part of the Global Health Programme, and helps in disease outbreak prevention.

A further topic at the G20 Meeting of Health Ministers is on combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This is one of the biggest threats to global health and affects industrialised and developing countries alike. One of the most important responses comprises the National Action Plans on antimicrobial resistance called for in the WHO Global Action Plan on AMR. Germany has shown the way with the German Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy (DART) and had been presenting an interim report on progress in Germany’s efforts during the G20 Meeting of Health Ministers.

Germany took over the Presidency of the G20 – the Group of Twenty leading industrialised and emerging economies – for one year on 1 December 2016.

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