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Global Health Talk

Global Health Talk: Experts Call for Greater Focus on Poorer Groups

Berlin Umweltforum

Global health financing and related issues such as global health architecture, pandemic provision, climate change, and urban transformation were at the center of this year's Global Health Talk on 12th and 13th June in Berlin. More than 200 participants had gathered at the Berlin Environmental Forum, with an additional 80 participants joining digitally.

Several speeches revolved around the affordability of "Health for All". Ilona Kickbusch, founder of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, warned in her speech that the focus on poorer population groups had been lost in recent years. ‘We've ignored the weakest and most vulnerable people for too long,’ she said. She also blamed the competition between countries and especially in the economy and pharmaceutical industry, where the emphasis is more on making money than strengthening health systems.

Just and Sustainable Societies are the Goal

Mariana Mazzucato, Professor of Economics at University College London (UCL), also explained that societies need to be guided by more than just Gross Domestic Product and require collective intellectual property. ‘Only in this way can we build healthy, just and sustainable societies.’ The German Minister for Health Prof. Dr. Karl Lauterbach emphasised the necessity of improved health financing and of the World Health Organisation WHO in his speech. ‘The WHO needs a higher share of compulsory contributions in order to better fulfil its role,’ said the Minister, announcing that Germany would increase its compulsory contributions to the WHO by twenty percent for the next two years.

Climate change threatens the planet – and Global Health.

Climate change also played a crucial role during the conference. Prof. Dr. Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, reminded the audience that health and climate are closely intertwined. Even now, 6.7 million people die each year from the effects of air pollution, mainly caused by the emissions of fossil fuels. If climate change isn't halted, many regions of the world will soon become uninhabitable. This will affect the health of all people on the planet. ‘Climate and health are interwoven global goods.’ Those who advocate for global health simultaneously reach decision-makers and citizens with the idea of greater climate protection.

The Global Health Talk takes place annually and is co-financed by the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The conference is organised by the Global Health Hub, a network on global health.


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