The first members’ meeting of the GHA – German Health Alliance after the merger of German Healthcare Export Group (GHE), German Healthcare Partnership (GHP) and German-Sino Healthcare Group (GSHCG), which became effective in January this year, took place online due to COVID-19. However, this has not reduced the interest of the members. On the contrary – almost 80 of the 104 members listened intently to the statements of the Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Dr. Maria Flachsbarth and the Coordinator for the Foreign Policy Dimension of Global Health Issues of the Federal Foreign Office Tobias Bergner on current developments in the field of health.
BMZ Agenda 2030 adjusted in view of the corona pandemic
In order to be able to manage crises like COVID-19 globally in the future, Germany must be better prepared worldwide. The BMZ Agenda 2030 is intended to become more focused, strategic, responsive and effective. For this reason, Flachsbarth explained, the focus is on fewer partner countries and topics are prioritised more clearly.
Bilateral cooperation in the field of health would continue. In Germany’s view, the focus should be placed even more on strengthening the general health system in order to achieve universal health care in accordance with the sustainability goals of the United Nations and to strengthen the resilience of health systems. Flachsbarth explained that the general resistance should be strengthened instead of only looking at individual diseases.
The aim is to improve the health situation in the partner countries and to develop self-sustaining structures so that the partner countries can meet the challenges by their own efforts.
GHA Chairman Roland Göhde welcomes the reorientation of the BMZ in terms of reorientation, future weighting and creation of structures, which will include, among other things, the creation of a new department within the BMZ, which will bring together Global Health, Economy, Trade and Rural Development and under which a sub-department “Global Health, Pandemic Prevention, One Health” will be established. A more in-depth exchange between BMZ and GHA in the future would be viewed extremely positively, as the inclusion of all sectors is an essential key to success in addressing the major challenges in the health sector.
Health knows no borders
The Federal Government’s strategy paper “For an effective international response by Germany to COVID-19” provides the framework for a comprehensive, coordinated and effective German response to the international challenge posed by COVID-19, emphasises Bergner. Bergner sees the danger that, due to weak health care systems with vulnerable populations and a lack of social security systems, the health crisis could lead to development and humanitarian crises with security policy consequences for Germany as well. Thus, conflicts could arise in the shadow of the crisis or existing situations could be worsened by the crisis, warns Bergner. Germany must therefore work on a rapid crisis response.