Despite being a global power, Germany has previously been lacking in terms of contribution to global health initiatives. However, over the past few years, Germany has stepped up and is continuing to progress towards being a country that champions international health.
Global health is becoming a German priority
Recently, the German government has embarked on several international health initiatives and has doubled its financial contributions to global health aid. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has been a driving force behind this, with global health being at the top of her agenda when Germany hosted the 2015 G-7 summit. She is also the first German Chancellor to speak at the World Health Assembly.
Berlin will also be home to a new international centre focusing on the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance, and its annual World Health Summit is drawing an increasingly influential crowd. Germany is also now the largest contributor to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) new Contingency Fund for Emergencies which was set up in response to the West African Ebola outbreak.
Still more to be done
Despite this rapid growth in spending over the past few years, Germany’s spending on health in developing countries is still below WHO’s goal of 0.1% of gross national income. Although it hasn’t reached this goal, Germany is still miles ahead of some other countries with regards to health spending.
However, Germany’s own research output in global health is still lagging. Countries with far smaller populations such as Canada, Sweden and the Netherlands produce many more research and academic papers on public health than they do. Yet with the country’s growth in spending, their contribution to research may also increase over the next few years and help them to continue to grow on the global health stage.