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Global health

Global Health

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Covid-19 has shown us the extent to which a health crisis impedes all areas of life and how important public health is for peace and development. In order to protect societies from future shocks, we need to invest more in our health systems and emergency preparedness.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO)

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At a glance

  • In addition to combating diseases, global health policy focuses on strengthening and resilience of healthcare systems and generally improving living conditions.
  • Technical innovations and sustainable lifestyles that protect biodiversity, climate and the environment play a special role in the creation of resilient healthcare systems.
  • Germany supports the WHO as a central player in global health policy and relies internationally on multilateral initiatives, so as to better meet global challenges.
  • The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung sees global health policy as an important cross-cutting issue that needs to be viewed from various perspectives and in conjunction with other policy fields.
  • A top priority of our work on global health is advising political decision-makers both in Germany and abroad.

 

Content

1. Global health as a cross-cutting issue

2. Thinking both globally and locally

3. Health as a topic for the future

4. The WHO, as a key player, anticipates major challenges

5. Germany is a consistent supporter of global health policy

6. The work of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in the topic area

7. Our offers and projects on the topic

8. Publications, events and media contributions on the topic


 

Global health as a cross-cutting issue: our understanding for an Interdisciplinary approach

Global health policy not only consists of fighting against diseases, but rather entails strengthening health systems worldwide and improving people’s living conditions. This narrative whose aim is to actively improve people’s health and their immediate environment, should ideally also be reflected in the actions of key players at global, national and regional level. This includes, for instance, sufficient physical activity for each individual, the protection of biodiversity, a partial rethinking of urban and rural planning in favour of more blue and green infrastructure as well as strengthening health skills within the population.  Another important aspect is global cooperation when exchanging information on pathogens with pandemic potential and guaranteeing the distribution of medical supplies.

Health is essentially based on various determinants such as education, participation in society, research and development, social security, the environment, socialisation, nutrition. This understanding of the multidisciplinary nature of health is also taken into account in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Goal 3 “Good Health and Well-being”. The corresponding political translation is therefore called “Health in All Policies”

 

Thinking both globally and locally: health must always be considered in a global context

Global health also demonstrates the global-local nexus in a particularly striking way and should invariably be seen in this context. A salient example of this is the spread of antibiotic resistance, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) calls a “silent pandemic”. The fight against resistances must therefore be waged globally, since progressive resistance also leads to treatment failures and deaths in this country and in hospitals. The Corona pandemic has also recently illustrated that health hazards such as infectious diseases, which occur in distant countries, can quickly turn into a global crisis situation in our globalised world.

 

Health as a topic for the future: resilient systems rely on innovation and a sustainable way of life

Development cooperation such as the promotion of global health projects is more important than ever – precisely this should have been made clear following experiences with the pandemic. Countries are therefore well advised to generally make their health systems more crisis-proof; that means making more staff available in healthcare professions, facilitating the stable supply of medication and medical equipment and creating more capacity in hospitals to ensure the continued treatment of all patients – even in a crisis situation.  With a view to the next health emergency, it is absolutely imperative to strive for a resilient health system. This also means countering the emergence and spread of zoonoses with measures relating to climate, environmental, and species protection, and engaging more intensively with approaches from pandemic prevention and preparation.

Innovations in the health and medical field play a major role in developments at global level, too. From a technological perspective, there were only a few types of diagnostic tests that could respond to pathogens with pandemic potential prior to the Corona pandemic. However, as with vaccines (e.g. mRNA), the speed of innovation in the development of diagnostic tests in the first 24 months of the Corona pandemic was unprecedented. Corona has turned out to be a kind of revolution for the diagnostics industry. This knowledge can now also ensure progress with other diseases such as malaria or tuberculosis.

 

The WHO, as a key player, anticipates major challenges: previous successes in the face of difficult times

Since its founding as a specialised agency of the United Nations in 1948, the WHO has played a decisive role in addressing global health challenges, combating diseases and providing health services to neglected populations. A number of new, influential players have now joined the ranks of global health such as philanthropic foundations (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust) and organisations focusing on individual topics such as the Global Alliance for Innovative Diagnostics (FIND) or the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Issues range from climate change to growing global economic inequalities right through to pandemics such as Covid-19 or the increasing geopoliticisation of United Nations (UN) forums – successes achieved in global health are faced with major challenges everywhere. “The future of health will undergo dramatic change by 2025”, said Director-General of the WHO Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the WHO, the Director-General added “[b]ut it is not the last 75 years that are now important, but rather the next 75 years […] all roads must lead to a universal health coverage [UHC]. The question is therefore how we can create a future that provides health for all.”

 

Germany is a consistent supporter of global health policy

To date, Germany has regarded itself as a consistent supporter of multilateral initiatives such as the realisation of a legally binding pandemic treaty and a financially sound WHO, which also enables better care in crisis regions.

Other focal areas of German health policy have so far encompassed the fight against antibiotic resistance, measures against the progression of non-communicable diseases such as cancer or cardiovascular diseases, support for research on neglected tropical diseases and interactions between health and climate.

Much progress in the aforementioned areas was thwarted by the Corona pandemic and its one-sided focus, and therefore require renewed and increased attention in order to reverse the trend in favour of achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

The work of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in the topic area: we have a decidedly global health profile

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung consistently participates in political and social debates on major health issues with events, studies and analyses. Yet we also address niche topics such as the “Role of innovative diagnostics in the pandemic response and strengthening the healthcare system” and thus strive to set trends. We do not see health as a single topic area, and instead turn the spotlight on debates from different perspectives and across departments. As the only political foundation with a real commitment to global health, we stand out here in a special way.

Our measures address politics, business and society and thus provide an impetus for discussing the topic in various target groups. However, we place special focus on advising political decision-makers both in Germany and abroad.


Our offers and projects on the topic

Working group

The Working Group Global Health has been in existence since 2019. It is a network of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung for experts on this and related issues.

Working Group Global Health

Improving health systems around the world is a prerequisite, indicator and outcome of sustainable development and a basis for the stability and well-being of a society. This is why the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung is using its working group to pool and consolidate expertise on the topic of global health. The goal of the working group is to continue dialogue on current global health issues and to provide a platform for exchanging knowledge and opinions where experts from politics, science, civil society, business and health organisations can share their knowledge and contribute their ideas. Members of the working group meet regularly to discuss current issues and political developments in this area and to develop appropriate solutions.

 

Learn more about the Working Group Global Health


 

Publication projects

Owing to the complexity of the issue, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung attempts to approach various aspects of global health through publication series and specific projects and to analyse these by including several – also divergent – perspectives.

The Corona Crisis in a Historical Context

 

How can historical events help us to better understand the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic? The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung invites historians to outline their perspectives on the importance of comparable crises in the past and how they were overcome. What role does the government play in dealing with the pandemic? What are the potential repercussions for the system of liberal democracy? And what is the political, economic and social impact for us all? Find out more in our series of articles “The Corona Crisis in Historical Perspective”.

 

Learn more about the Corona crisis in a historical context

Contributions to the Debate on Triage

 

The Covid-19 pandemic presented us with existential challenges in many areas of life. Since the onset of the pandemic, the dramatic triage situation has been more and more frequently discussed at various levels. How do we deal with triage when the healthcare system reaches its limits and not all patients can be adequately cared for? Who makes the decisions and how is this regulated by law? In our articles, we discuss these and other important questions on the topic of triage and highlight the different perspectives on this complex issue.

 

Learn more about contributions to the debate on triage


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Contact

Lukas Lingenthal

Lukas Lingenthal

Global Health, Mobility

lukas.lingenthal@kas.de +49 30 26996 3689 +49 30 26996 53689
Contact

Andrea Ellen Ostheimer

Andrea Ostheimer

Director KAS Genf Office

andrea.ostheimer@kas.de +41 79 318 9841
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Publications, events and media contributions on the topic

Our contributions are as wide-ranging and multifaceted as the topic itself!

Whether it's an expert interview, specialist publication or hot debate - click through and you're guaranteed to find the right format for you!

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Publications to the topic

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76th World Health Assembly

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Events on the topic

Nov

2024

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