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International German Forum

Improving human health

At the Third International German Forum experts from 25 countries, from the realms of politics, science and research and civil society, will be meeting on 21 and 22 February at the Federal Chancellery to discuss ways of improving the quality of life and health.

The meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel on the second day of the Forum will be broadcast live on the internet as of 14.30 Central European Time. This third forum too will focus on improving the quality of life around the globe. The quality of life is inextricably linked to human health. Good health is the foundation for a fulfilled and happy life, and thus a prerequisite for wellbeing and a good quality of life.

Focus on health

In her latest video podcast, Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes the fact that the International German Forum has put human health on the agenda for its third meeting. She stressed that global health is a crucially important issue. With the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the international community has set itself "the extremely ambitious goal of giving every person in the world, whatever their age, an entitlement to health care". During its G7 Presidency, Germany launched a research initiative to develop vaccines that will give protection against tropical diseases. "We will continue to work hard on this," said the Chancellor.

Germany always has an interest in ensuring that people "elsewhere can live well so as to address the root causes of refugee movements and migration". That is why Germany is supporting other countries in developing their health systems as well as providing swift assistance in the form of funding, and human and material resources when public health emergencies strike, like the Ebola epidemic that shook West Africa between 2014 and 2016.

Germany’s G20 Presidency puts health on the agenda

Within the framework of Germany’s G20 Presidency, the Chancellor now wants to "see if more people can be convinced to take this path with us". To this end there will be a meeting of health ministers before the leaders’ meeting, announced Angela Merkel.

At the Third International German Forum, the use of information and communication technologies in health systems around the world will also play a role. Germany can be an example to follow here, said the Chancellor. The German government has launched legislation to promote digitalisation in the health system. "We can thus be an example for other countries to follow." We must use the opportunities offered by digitalisation, while looking very carefully at the imperatives of data privacy and data protection, she said.

Background to the International German Forum
Chancellor Angela Merkel launched this new format in 2013. It offers experts from the realms of politics, industry, science and research and civil society the chance to engage in international discussion on the issues that will define our future. The idea of an International German Forum grew from the Chancellor’s Dialogue on Germany’s Future in 2011 and 2012, within the scope of which she discussed how we want to live in future with citizens and experts.
The aim of the International German Forum is to put in place a network for global learning and to devise common solutions to the issues that will define our future. The First International German Forum was held in 2013 and explored "What matters to people – quality of life and progress". The Forum continued in 2015, and focused on "What matters to people – innovation and society ".

Discussing examples of best practices

The International German Forum complements Germany’s engagement in the field of health. Many countries are facing similar tasks in order to improve the health status of their people. This is an area in which all countries and their people benefit from a discussion of best practices – including ways that the internet, mobile phones and data can be used to improve health information and health care.

The Forum also aims to strengthen international cooperation, which is critical when it comes to preventing or combating cross-border outbreaks of diseases.

Learning from one another in dialogue

The 120 or so participants at the Third International German Forum will be discussing the following main issues:

  • Using the opportunities offered by information and communication technologies
  • Improving the way we use antibiotics
  • Combating neglected tropical diseases
  • Mental health – overcoming the taboo.

Following the discussion among experts of the main issues and innovative approaches taken, for instance, in Canada, South Africa, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, the second day of the Forum will include a discussion between the Chancellor and international innovators.

Engaging in discussion with the Chancellor will be eminent personalities including Morton Elbaek Peterson from Denmark, Professor Alison Holmes from the United Kingdom, Dr. John Amuasi from Ghana and Professor Vikram Patel from India.

The outcomes and ideas to emerge from the discussions held at the Third International German Forum will also be incorporated in Germany’s G20 Presidency in 2017. Event documentation will be compiled after the Forum.

Hacking for Global Health

The Federal Development Ministry’s competition "Hacking for Global Health" promises to be exciting. The aim is to develop digital solutions in the field of child and youth health in Kenya. A "hackathon" was held back in November.

At the International German Forum three teams will present their solutions: an app-based micro health insurance scheme, a platform allowing young Kenyan’s to learn about "taboo" topics, and a messaging service to ensure early referrals of pregnant mothers to skilled health care providers. The winning team will receive support to help them further develop their software.

Feb 20, 2017