Advancing health care systems together

For approaches to resolving health policy issues and challenges to be effective in the long term, they must look beyond national borders and remits. This is why the German Federal Ministry of Health has been sustaining, in addition to its co-operation with multilateral initiatives and interna-tional institutions, a direct (bilateral) exchange with national health agencies throughout the world.

Its unification process has made Germany a EU Member State with special expertise in transforming national health care systems. It is also for this reason that it has become a major partner to other countries, with a special focus on Central and Eastern Europe and countries in Asia, Central Asia and the Arabian peninsula. They have been supported in implementing specific health care efforts in line with the sustainable help to self-help principle. This includes, on the one hand, clinical co-operation projects (also in the field of highly specialised care) between German institutions and their partner institutions abroad to bring about assessable structural improvements in various health care settings. On the other, consultation services are provided to help implement systemic changes. To achieve these goals, the co-operation projects also rely on civil society structures in the partner countries involved. Another focus is good neighbourly co-operation that involves health care provision in border regions, especially emergency medical services.

Internationally recognised, the high level of medical and paramedical training in Germany is also an opportunity to advertise Germany as a health care location. This is done in the context of bilateral co-operation projects and, together with other German ministries, through supporting structured medical specialist training programmes for various medical professionals from currently nine partner countries (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Brunei).

In addition to training quality, both the effectiveness and efficiency of systemic elements of the German health care system and the diversity and quality of the products made by German pharmaceutical and medical devices manufacturers create incentives and prerequisites for bilateral co-operation. The high level of care in this country is also the result of the German health care industry's innovative prowess. Since this makes Germany a model to emulate, especially to many emerging economies, this topic is an integral element of this Ministry's health care system development efforts.