Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn introduces Global Health Hub Germany to the public
In February 2019, the Global Health Hub Germany was launched at the Federal Ministry of Health in Berlin. Joined by high-level experts from the German global health landscape and beyond, the evening event laid the cornerstone for future exchange and collaboration.
On 19 February 2019, over 200 representatives from government, non-governmental organizations, academia, private sector, think tanks, foundations and youth led organizations gathered at the heart of Berlin to watch Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn inaugurating the Global Health Hub Germany. The interactive evening event gave global health actors from across Germany the opportunity to learn more about this newly established network.
Global Health Hub Germany meets Sustainable Development Goals
‘The Global Health Hub Germany is based on the understanding that both state and non-state actors from various fields and disciplines play an important role in finding solutions to current global health challenges’, explains the minister in his opening speech. However, an exchange across thematic areas and sectors among the various stakeholder engaged in global health is often missing. The Global Health Hub aims to close that gap by providing a platform for better information, exchange, and the initiation of new partnerships and projects.
With the launch of the Global Health Hub, Germany sends out a strong message: We want to complement our political leadership role in global health already assumed under the G7 and G20 presidencies with a more visible and strong engagement of all German stakeholders – including the non-governmental institutions. What is more, by establishing the Hub, the German Government is aligning its work with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda targeting greater interdisciplinary exchange and closer cooperation between different sectors and stakeholder groups. The minister of health reconfirms: ‘The hub is committed to SDG17 and will foster exchange and cooperation among everyone engaged in global health.’
‘We need more connectivity in global health’
‘The German global health landscape is fragmented’, highlights Ilona Kickbusch, Director of the Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva in her keynote speech. This can affect the pace required enabling timely response to current and future global health issues such as chronic diseases and epidemics. To counter the challenges for cooperation across sectors and different actor groups in global health, a more coordinated approach and continuous efforts to streamline actions are needed. This is why Kickbusch calls upon all stakeholders engaged in global health to be bold enough to grow into a unified global health community. She concludes: ‘The Global Health Hub Germany should function as central transfer point for global health where ideas flourish. I hope for a hub where there is most activity.’
In a similar vein, Christoph Benn, Director for Global Health Diplomacy at the Joep Lange Institute in Amsterdam, hopes for a Global Health Hub where all actors involved have ownership. By reflecting on the major role of the digital revolution in the promotion of global health and as an apt example for successful multidisciplinary cooperation, he adds: ‘The global health hub is more than a new institution. It is a network, a communications hub and a centre of excellence mobilizing the various initiatives already existing in Germany.’
‘Only together we can make a difference for global health’
At the end of the event, various stakeholders present expressed their thoughts on the Global Health Hub Germany. Dr. Christopher Elias, head of Global Development Programs at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation states: ‘It is so encouraging to see the creation of this forum. The Global Health Hub Germany is a very clear step in the right direction to provide both a forum for global health policy discussions and a critical platform for interdisciplinary collaboration across actors from the public, private and academic sectors active in global health and beyond.’
Laying the pathway for future collaborations
The Federal Ministry of Health supports the Global Health Hub Germany with a start-up financing for the next three years. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is commissioned to provide the office of the hub throughout this period (2019-2021). In this capacity, it is responsible for the planning and implementing the hubs’ overarching goals and activities.
A steering committee consisting of high-level representatives from various stakeholder groups is currently in the process of being set up. The committee will be in charge of strategic planning and further development of the hub. As such, it will set the priorities and topics to be discussed within hub.
Everyone who is committed to global health can contribute to the Global Health Hub Germany by becoming an active member. Members of the network will be enabled to exchange their ideas with other stakeholder groups via the interactive website and at face-to-face events. They can shape the hub themselves by initiating activities such as working groups on current health issues. For more information on how to become an active member of the hub, please get in touch with the Global Health Hub Germany office at email@example.com.