World Health Summit: 11 Groups Sign Collaboration; Civil Society Sees Lack Of NGOs

BERLIN — Answering the call by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg for a global action plan for pushing global health, heads of 11 major health organisations today signed “a commitment to find new ways of working together to accelerate progress towards achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals” at the close of the World Health Summit in Berlin.

The Action Plan was necessary, according to German Health Minister Jens Spahn (HPW, United Nations, 15 October 2018) in order to avoid falling behind on fulfilling the health-related targets of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Supported by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and presented in Berlin by World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Action Plan attempts to avoid fragmentation and duplication of work of the signatory organisations.

These include: the WHO, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Financing Facility, the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNAIDS, Unitaid, UN Women, the World Bank Group, and others.

Frederik Kristen Ole Kristensen, deputy CEO, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Norway, in one of the panel discussions during the Summit acknowledged the need to scope the work of the respective organisations and find better ways to collaborate. A deeper look from the economic side of health also is necessary at times, he said, asking for health economists’ support.

The Action Plan, which explains its main goals as “align, accelerate and account,” will in a phase one be broadly discussed be finalised and then will presented in a year from now.

The German Government’s press release on the jointly initiated draft Action Plan is here.

Despite the announcement today and a number of new commitments made by the German government, activist and development organisations are not satisfied with the World Health Summit. The German development organisation “Bread for the World” on the last day of the summit in a blog post criticised the dominance of big pharmaceutical companies at the Summit.

Pharma companies were very interested during the summit in big data and artificial intelligence innovations and also talked about how best to defend against falsified medicines, with a European Directive on Falsified Medicine that makes a standard labelling obligatory becoming effective in February next year.

While the Summit ends today in Berlin the Grand Challenges Meeting of the Gates Foundation is still ongoing with additional announcements expected tonight and tomorrow.


Image Credits: Monika Ermert.

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