Health is a Human Right (UN Declaration 1948)
Health and personal wellbeing are our societies’ most important values. However, compared to the immense rate of progress that we are facing in the medical sciences we are lagging enormously behind. At present more than half of the world’s population is not receiving proper medical care. At the same demographic change in all parts of the world results in a rapidly rising burden of chronic diseases. We must clearly define our responsibilities and investments for the development of medicine to increase knowledge transfer from bench to bedsides. We can make a difference. It is our responsibility to let today’s science become tomorrow’s agenda. Not only fine- tuned coordination of initiatives of academia with governments, the civil society and the private sector but also stable private-public partnerships, investments in health impose significant targets to improve health in our world.
By establishing the World Health Summit as one of the foremost international gatherings of its kind in healthcare, the M8 Alliance envisages the establishment of a sustainable high-level forum. Research, education and clinical care need to develop answers to health challenges in an increasingly complex environment of globalization and international interdependency. Bringing together all stakeholders involved in health research and health care presents an unprecedented opportunity for constructive interactive partnerships. There is an urgent need for a cross-sectoral approach and multidisciplinary research to unleash the power and creativity of academic medicine and to involve societies, governments and industries. By close collaboration in analyzing today’s science and by extensively sharing international experience and debate, we will be able to structure tomorrow’s agenda.
Key Topics 2011
We are living in an extraordinary period of history. Never before has the world experienced such progress in research and powerful technology, not only to fight diseases but also to prevent them, improving the quality of life worldwide. At the same time, our world is experiencing tough challenges: the rapid increase of non- communicable diseases and mental illness in addition to the still raging epidemics of HIV, TB and malaria strongly influence today’s health care and research agendas. Nearly 8 million children and pregnant women die every year as a consequence of preventable causes. The health effects of climate change are already being felt as the warming of the planet directly influences the distribution of food and water, but also of vector-borne diseases. Which are effective strategies to adapt our research agendas to these increasing challenges? How can different stakeholder groups improve collaboration on an international scale to speed up and develop joint solutions?
Research and Innovation
Medical advances only arise from collaboration and mutual understanding between academia and health-care, politics and the private sector. The academic community is aware of its responsibility to deliver results based on a strong collaborative approach to improve global health. This comprises basic and preclinical research and the development of new therapies, but also increasingly the delivery of health services. The burning medical questions and health issues of our time need immediate scientific answers without delay. How can we reorganize the academic system to increase translational efficiency between academic medicine, industry and operational actors of the health care system? Effective incentives are needed for the development of “vulnerable” drug classes, e.g. antibiotics and of medical innovations for diseases of global health importance. What mechanisms do we need and how can the innovation process be accelerated? How can we realize adequate adaption of therapeutics to fit local conditions? What mechanisms and collaboration models do we need to tackle the health threat caused by counterfeit drugs?
Strengthening Health Systems
Strong health systems are the basis of all development. Governments around the world are struggling with the challenges of providing good-quality healthcare under conditions of increasing financial constraints. Evidence on which to base sound rational decisions is in short supply. Critical shortages, an inadequate skill-mix and an uneven geographical distribution of the health workforce pose major barriers to achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The essential prerequisites of good health systems are a solid basis of public health education and adequate training of the health work-force. Information and communication technologies offer exciting innovative tools for many healthcare sectors. In addition, society and the media have to take much greater responsibility for the promotion of health and the prevention of diseases.
Good health governance has always been of the utmost importance. Evidence in this field is still weak. No country has yet discovered an ideal health-service model. Therefore the links between evidence and policy on all levels (national and international) need to be strengthened. How must innovative models of effective health collaboration and surveillance systems be shaped to tackle global challenges such as the increase of chronic diseases or the health consequences of global warming and degraded environment and urbanization? How can we control the various structural, socio-cultural and economic determinants of health? These are some of the important topics on tomorrow´s agenda.
The World Health Summit is the world’s foremost meeting of researchers, physicians, politicians and stake holders within the healthcare system. It takes place every year, with its second instalment in October 2010 in Berlin.
World Health Summit 2012, October 21-24.
World Health Summit 2011, Langenbeck-Virchow-Haus, Berlin Germany
- Top-level researchers and members of the scientific community
- High-profile political decision-makers and society opinion leaders
- Executives and representatives from the health care system
- Leaders of the health-related industry and technology sector