Under the overarching theme of the Indian G20 presidency 2023 “One Earth, One Family, One Future”, the G20 Health Ministers committed to cooperation for improving health worldwide across health emergency prevention, preparedness and response, access and availability to medical countermeasures and digital health innovations.
Working together for a healthier future
The G20 presidency of India in 2023 continued the commitment to working together for a healthier future. The G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting in Gandhinagar, which was held on 18th and 19th August 2023, reached important milestones. In Gandhinagar, the G20 health ministers deliberated on major global health priorities and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the global health architecture.
- The building of more resilient, equitable sustainable and inclusive health systems equipped to address ongoing global health challenges and future public health emergencies.
- The facilitating of achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the health-related targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Goals.
- The need of the hour to converge, consolidate, and create a healthier future while “leaving no one behind”.
- The commitment to further continuing action-oriented dialogues in global health under the incoming G20 presidencies.
- The commitment to the Global Patient Safety Leaders Group and furthering its outcomes during the G20 Brazilian Presidency.
“Continued support and collaboration of the G20, development partners and international organizations will be necessary to accomplish together what none of us can do alone. WHO is committed to working with countries to strengthen their capacities and to improve access to quality-assured digital solutions for a healthier, safer, fairer future.”
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General
The G20 Gandhinagar Health Ministers’ Communiqué further summarizes the commitments of the G20 health ministers in the three priority areas:
1. Health Emergencies Prevention, Preparedness, and Response [PPR] (with focus on One Health and Antimicrobial Resistance [AMR])
Under this priority the G20 health ministers committed to:
- continue strengthening the dialogue with the Finance track through the G20 Joint Finance-Health Task Force (JFHTF) to mitigate economic vulnerabilities and risks from pandemics and improving readiness for large-scale pandemic response interventions.
- highlight the importance of the Pandemic Fund and the need to secure new donors.
- reiterate the central and coordinating role of the WHO in global health architecture and applaud the decision at the 75th WHA to work towards increasing the share of assessed contributions to 50 percent of WHO’s 2022-2023 base budget.
- look forward to a successful outcome of the ongoing negotiations in the Inter-Governmental Negotiating Body (INB) for a legally binding pandemic treaty and the Working Group on Amendments to the International Health Regulations (WGIHR)
- affirm the need to avoid duplication and ensure coherence in all PPPR-related processes.
- reaffirm the commitment to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and for polio eradication.
- acknowledge the need to identify and address global health security threats and to strengthen infectious disease surveillance systems by integrating a collaborative and inclusive One Health Approach and addressing the nexus between climate change and health.
- welcome the technical leadership and guiding role in promoting health emergencies prevention, preparedness, and response of the Quadripartite (WHO, WOAH, FAO, and UNEP).
- recognize the need to enhance the resilience of health systems against the impact of climate change and commit to prioritizing climate-resilient health systems development and healthcare supply chains, mobilize resources and facilitate collaboration.
- commit to tackling AMR comprehensively following the One Health approach, welcome research and development on novel antimicrobials through international initiatives (SECURE, CARB-X, GARDP). Furthermore, underline the importance of allocating funds to implement AMR National Action Plans (NAPs) from domestic mechanisms, relevant modalities of global financial instruments and AMR-specific mechanisms (Global Fund, Pandemic Fund, AMR MPTF).
- support the inclusion of provisions on AMR in the pandemic agreement in the ongoing INB negotiations.
- recognize the potential role of evidence-based Traditional and Complementary Medicine (T&CM) in health and public health delivery systems.
2. Strengthening Cooperation in the Pharmaceutical sector with a focus on availability & access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable Medical Countermeasures-VTDs (Vaccines, Therapeutics, and Diagnostics
Under the second priority the G7 health ministers committed to:
- acknowledge the need for adaptable, affordable, agile, sustainable, inclusive, effective, efficient, accountable, and equitable access to medical countermeasures.
- welcome the role of G20 members (i) in WHO-convened INB and WGIHR processes to ensure linkages between existing networks and partnerships at national, regional and global level; (ii) WHO-convened process to establish the interim mechanism enabling the relevant functions of research & development, manufacturing, procurement, and delivery.
- support a WHO-led inclusive consultative process for the development of an interim medical countermeasures coordination mechanism to enhance collaboration for timely and equitable access to medical countermeasures against pandemic threats.
- encourage an interim mechanism based on a network of networks approach and the inclusion of provisions for a permanent mechanism in the pandemic treaty.
- recognize the need for strengthening local and regional health product manufacturing capacities and sustainable global and regional research and development networks to facilitate equitable access and distribution of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics globally, especially in developing countries.
- encourage strong interinstitutional collaboration to promote R&D, diversify manufacturing networks and strengthen the resilience and transparency of global supply chains and delivery capacities.
3. Digital Health Innovation and Solutions to Aid Universal Health Coverage and Improve Healthcare Service Delivery
Under the third priority the G7 health ministers committed to:
- realize the significance of digital health and health data modernization in strengthening healthcare systems and in ensuring equitable access to health services for all and welcome the results of WHO’s Global Digital Health Certification Network.
- recognize the work of many institutions towards digital transformation of health systems and recommend closer coordination of existing initiatives to complement and support an interconnected digital health ecosystem.
- commit to support the WHO’s efforts to establish the Global Initiative on Digital Health in support of the WHO Global Digital Health Strategy 2020-2025 to reduce fragmentation, provide convergence of digital health initiatives & voluntary funds, coordinate work with existing multi-national organizational efforts and promote repository of quality-assured digital health solutions.
- support countries through the initiative to plan and implement high quality, people-centric, inclusive, and equitable digital health systems and promote digital literacy to facilitate equitable access to health services and ensure people-centric, inclusive and equitable digital health solutions.
What else happened?
Furthermore, a Joint Finance – Health Ministers’ Meeting was held on 19th August 2023 to discuss financing challenges in global health.
The Health Ministers’ Meeting in India was accompanied by four additional side events, covering the topics of One Health, Traditional Medicine, Technological Advances in Medicine, as well as the End-TB Conference for South-East Asia.
Together with Minister Mansukh Madaviya, Minister Karl Lauterbach discussed the possible strengthening of cooperation between India and Germany to work together for a better supply of medicinal products. Both countries also discussed experiences with artificial intelligence application in the health sector. With strong support of Germany, the topic of improving research for long covid was included in the Communiqué.