Press Release
22 October 2019 | Deutsch

The World Health Summit will begin on Sunday, with approximately 20 ministers from around the world in attendance

Detlev Ganten:“Health needs a global approach”
Berlin, Oct. 22, 2019 - Approximately 20 ministers from around the world are expected to attend the World Health Summit, which begins on Sunday. Joining them will be the Director-General of the WHO, top scientists, and leading NGO representatives. At the three-day summit, over 2,500 participants will discuss ways to improve global health.
Topics of focus in the 2019 program include the impact of climate change on health, improving health systems in Africa and around the world, the fight against antimicrobial resistance, digital health, and implementing the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
Speakers at the World Health Summit are leading experts from politics, science, business, and civil society.
The World Health Summit was founded in 2009 at Charité and is among the world’s leading strategic forums for global health. It is held under the high patronage of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
World Health Summit President Detlev Ganten shares his perspective on the summit and current global health challenges:
What are the biggest challenges in global health today?
Detlev Ganten: Healthcare and medicine have seen major improvements. Enormous progress in research means we can treat diseases more effectively than ever before. At the same time, people’s health is still endangered around the world. The world population is growing and will soon reach 10 billion. As more and more people need high-quality medical care, we must ensure that it’s available and affordable.
What are the greatest threats to our health?
Detlev Ganten: In my view, there are three main problems: For one, infectious diseases don’t stop at national borders, and are increasingly spreading among a mobile population. We urgently need good infrastructure and early warning systems. Climate change is the biggest health threat of the century: rising temperatures, heat waves, drought, flooding—they all have devastating effects on human health. That means more infectious disease, more cardiovascular disease, more allergies. Noncommunicable diseases too—like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and psychiatric diseases, are a modern plague. The main cause is our lifestyle: life in megacities and unhealthy, industrialized nutrition.
What can policymakers do about these problems?
Detlev Ganten: All these problems are global and must be viewed beyond the scope of national politics. We can only solve them together, multilaterally. Policymakers around the world have to recognize that, especially when it comes to health policy. Health needs a global approach—the time for going it alone is over. And finally: health policy has to be integrated into all policy areas.
What should Germany’s role be?
Detlev Ganten: Germany should take a cooperative leadership role in global health. As one of the richest countries in the world, Germany should use its resources to take responsibility in an area where it’s increasingly gaining international recognition.
What role can science and research play?
Detlev Ganten: As the driver of innovation, science has to take responsibility. Problems can only be solved when scientists work together with policymakers, civil society, and the private sector. The science and research community can lead and initiate these collaborations, and that’s what happens at the World Health Summit: in an environment of academic freedom, we bring together every sector with the goal of improving global health collaboratively. Standing behind the World Health Summit is a powerful academic network: the M8 Alliance, which consists of 28 universities and academic health centers in 19 countries, including the InterAcademy Partnership, which represents all national academies of medicine and science. This powerful international network serves as a think tank for the World Health Summit.
The World Health Summit 2019 is starting on Sunday. What are you looking forward to the most?
Detlev Ganten: For three days, people who aren’t usually in the same room will meet and exchange ideas. New networks, partnerships, and collaborations will form—all with the goal of improving health around the world. It’s special to experience that. I’m looking forward to the atmosphere, with 2,500 people from 100 countries, around 20 ministers, the Director-General of the WHO, fantastic scientists, CEOs of businesses and NGOs, and motivated young people from around the world. I’m looking forward to inspiring talks, interesting ideas, and of course to many familiar faces—lots of people come year after year, because there's no forum quite like this anywhere else.
Detlev Ganten is President of the World Health Summit, which he founded in 2009. A medical doctor specializing in pharmacology and molecular medicine, he is one of the world's leading scientists in the field of cardiovascular disease and has received international recognition for his research. He was previously President of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centers and CEO of Charité, one of the largest university hospitals in Europe.
The World Health Summit is fully open to the press.
Interview requests can be coordinated through the World Health Summit press office.
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Press Information:
World Health Summit
October 27-29, 2019
Kosmos, Karl-Marx-Allee 131a, Berlin
Twitter: @worldhealthsmt
Press Contact
Katherine Lindemann
Tel.: +49 30 450 572 114