A G20 health ministers’ meeting will be taking place for the first time, on 19-20 May 2017. And the G20 summit at Hamburg in July will address recommendations from this meeting, bringing health into the radar of the policy discourse of the 20 largest economies in the world.
Indications that the German presidency of the G20 would be to prioritise health came in February, during the 3rd International German Forum. Addressing the body of experts on science, politics as well as civil society organisations from 25 countries, Chancellor Angela Merkel pointed out that Germany was committed to ensure that “all over the world, people can live well so as to address the root causes of refugee movements and migration.”
Similarly, during its presidency of the G7 in 2015, Germany placed health in the centre of discussion. At the 2015 Elmau G7 Summit, the German state ensured thoroughgoing consideration of: the International response to the Ebola outbreak; anti-microbial resistance (AMR); neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), and global health security.
As the G20 takes on health within the context of its 2017 vision of “shaping an interconnected world,” it is exceedingly important that this be sustained. Towards the “goal of giving every person in the world, whatever their age, an entitlement to health care," which Chancellor Merkel described as “extremely ambitious”, improved funding and structurally strengthening of public health systems across the world cannot be overemphasized.
The 2017 Hamburg G20 Summit must be a beacon of inspiration for the realization of the right to health in line with SDG 3. A place to start in this regard would be full support of the G20 health ministers’ meeting to the implementation of the Five-Year Implementation Plan for Health Employment and Economic Growth.