At the second day of the World Health Summit 2012, veterans in the fight for public health and global health fervently called to action on various areas. One of the biggest issues due to Laurie Garrett (Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations) is the financial situation, relying heavily on the US Government and the private “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation”. The first will unavoidably cut their funding in the next months; the latter is not transparent at all. “The house of cards is about to collapse” she concluded, if measures are not taken immediately.
Another call for action was voiced by Judith Mackay (Senior Advisor, World Lung Foundation), speaking in the same keynote lecture as Laurie Garrett. She pronounced that the tobacco epidemic is not declining but will rise due to the increasing population – with a special worry about women from low and middle income countries who are now targeted by the tobacco industry. Combined with other approaches, improvement might follow from education, if for example states realize the loss of tobacco taxes will be balanced by tax returns from other sectors like restaurants, being more frequently visited after a smoking ban, and most importantly by reduction of health-care-costs.
A third speaker stressed the angle of money in the press conference: Severin Schwan (CEO, Roche Group). On the example of cancer he told that “most patients don’t have access to medicines due to their price”. Solidarity between rich and poor countries is needed to abandon uniform prizes and bring medicines to markets with prizing relative to the buyers economic capacities.
Three speakers shed light on three different areas of problems, soon to be tackled in order to improve health worldwide. Still, the time to react is running low. If a palpable cut on money for global health will be due within the next months, as Laurie Garrett predicts, possible solutions for these and other postulations will be immensely narrowed down. New concepts have to be developed – and they have to be developed soon.
The next press conference will be held on Tuesday, October 23rd, 12:20 – 13:10, “Room Bier” (5th level). It will focus on two major topics:
- The WHO "Health 2020" plan (presented by Agis Tsouros and Arun Nanda – WHO)
- "Outlook to Asia" (presented by John Wong and Chia Kee Seng – National University of Singapore)
World Health Summit 2012
October 21st – 24th, 2012
Langenbeck-Virchow-Haus, Luisenstr. 58, 10117 Berlin
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