In the German Healthcare Partnership (GHP), which has been stablished in 2010 jointly by the German government and BDI, 52 leading German actors from the private sector, the non-governmental sector, and science & academia have been active, covering a broad range of health expertise and addressing the international demand for healthcare system know-how and highest quality solutions & services by building partnerships in Global Health and by providing systemic strategies for strengthening health systems and health infrastructures. The German Healthcare Partnership (GHP) has been renamend to GHA – German Health Alliance in July 2019.
GHP – was established in the year 2010 as joint initiative of the German Federal government and the German private sector and by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Federation of German Industries (BDI). Nevertheless, the process towards this initiative began much earlier:
Starting in the mid 1990s, Germany’s international cooperation supporting health systems improvement among development partners began to expand beyond the scope of primary health care.
Within this broader context, the question became how to integrate proven German healthcare expertise throughout the work of policy organisations so that all stakeholders would benefit. Many government agencies and business and civil society partners from developing and newly industrialized nations were calling for increasingly adapted and integrated health products and services. A more system-oriented approach was required. Modern and holistic solutions for education and training, investment and financing, patient education and health insurance as well as maintenance and operation of hospitals needed to be developed in order to ensure sustainable and effective health sector development cooperation. The German Healthcare Partnership (GHP) stemmed from this call to apply broader German health sector expertise.
An initial working group was formed and served as a think tank which led to the establishment of the German Health Care Partnership. Participants of this first visionary working group were Wolfgang Bichmann (KfW), Bernhard Broermann (Asklepius Hospital Group), Robert Gaertner (EPOS Health Management, GOPA Group), Achim Johannsen (BMZ employee at BDI), Bernd Lunkenheimer (GIZ), Michael Rabbow (Boehringer Ingelheim), Uwe Schmidt (BMZ employee at the BDI).
In the German Healthcare Export Group (GHE), established in the year 1991, 42 innovative and strongly growing companies from the area of medical technologies have come together to encourage an exchange of information and experiences between members and to serve as internationally proven partner for highest quality medical technologies. GHE represented almost the entire medical technology product range. The GHE combined innovative technology, high quality products „Made in Germany“ with excellent services and attendances, which included a key focus on a joint presence at the leading trade fairs like MEDICA and Arab Health.
The GHE was founded in 1991 under the name “German Community of Interest for the Export of Pharmaceutical, Laboratory, Dental and Medical Technology” (Deutsche Export-Interessengemeinschaft Pharma, Labor, Dental und Medizintechnik). At that time – which coincided with the Second Gulf War – information coming from the Near East was extremely sparse, and it was this very circumstance that that inspired Heinz-Jürgen Witzke (Beta Verlag) and Udo Pawelka (then “Sartorius AG”) to organise a group of companies that would focus exclusively on international exports. “We felt that we were not receiving sufficient support from German politics, and therefore wanted to get something going ourselves, so we organized a self-help group as it were”, explains Witzke, who is today Honorary Chairman of the German Healthcare Export Group. It didn’t take long for the idea of an export forum to take hold and for leading international companies, such as B. Braun, Eppendorf, Atmos and Dräger, to join the Group as founding members.
Initially, the Group’s focus was on individual geographical regions only. “Because of the war in Iraq, GHE originally limited its area of interest to the Near- and Middle East. This, however, changed quite quickly”, said Witzke. The meetings held in order to exchange information soon started to include areas like the Far East, Eastern Europe and South America. However, with all of these meetings, the practical benefits they would create for member companies always stood in the foreground. “Most of us where fully aware of the value of this exchange of information from our everyday jobs.”, emphasised Wolfgang Hünlich, formerly employed by Heraeus and now Honorary Member. Although, initially, the project did not involve any formal organisational procedures, these started to materialise quite quickly as time went on and led to the printing of stationary, the organisation of meetings and delegation of responsibilities.
The Group finally changed its name to “German Healthcare Export Group” in 1992. This was also the year that its members elected a board of directors and an advisory board, chaired by Wolfgang Hünlich. “We wanted to prevent any potential impasses and thus agreed on five board directors“, explained Stefan Ohletz, who took over as chairman from Wolfgang Hünlich in 1995.
The GHE always intended to participate in medical technology trade fairs and exhibitions right from the very start of its conception. “Our first joint appearance at a medical trade fair in Hanover was only the first of a continuous string of GHE appearances at the most important of the leading healthcare sector trade fairs.“, explained Markus Braun (Meiko Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG), first chairman of GHE. For about 20 years, GHE has been occupying a large joint stand and adjacent lounge at the MEDICA in Düsseldorf and has also been making an appearance at the ARAB HEALTH in Dubai for several years running. Another important trade fair for GHE members is CMEF in China or Hospitalar in Sao Paolo.
Half of the GHE companies are active in the electronics and medical technology sector, closely followed by those dealing with and manufacturing medical commodities and consumables, physiotherapy and orthopaedic technology, operating theatre equipment and medical furniture.
- Heinz-Jürgen Witzke | Beta Publishing GmbH
- Stefan Ohletz
- Markus Braun | MEIKO Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG
- Wolfgang Hünlich
- Werner Friedrich
- Sönke Vogel | seca gmbh & co. kg
The German-Sino-Healthcare Group e.V. (GSHCG), established 2006, has brought together German organizations and leading Chinese stakeholders in the healthcare sector, sharing know-how and technologies related to integrated healthcare. On basis of a framework agreement between the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), GSHCG strives to strengthen the bilateral cooperation in all areas of healthcare, including Hospital Planning, Hospital Management, Medical Technologies and Hospital Equipment, Pharmaceuticals, Research & Development, Education & Training.