The third workshop organized by the Centre Virchow-Villermé for Public Health Paris-Berlin (CVV) on May 12th 2015 focused on the challenges of communicable and non-communicable diseases (CDs and NCDs), including : addressing the commitment to fight HIV/AIDS and exploring what positions the countries have and how they contribute to GFATM, UNAIDS, UNITAID; exploring the positions the two countries have in relation to global action on NCDs and discussing how each country is responding to the policy challenges emerging from the epidemiological shift between communicable and non-communicable diseases at a global level.
The event was hosted at the German Historical Institute Paris (Deutsches Historisches Institut, DHI) and attended by about 50 invited experts, including representatives from ministries, international agencies and NGOs as well as academics and students.
Both France and Germany have contributed greatly to the development of national, regional and global efforts to combat CDs and NCDs and are major players in current initiatives to tackle the threats they pose to individual health and to collective health security. The two previous workshops organized by CVV dealt with the approaches of Germany and France to the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and with their agendas for global health. It was noted that while practical programmes and directions of emphasis sometimes differ, the two countries share many similarities in philosophy, values and goals for meeting current global health challenges.
This workshop reinforced the emerging picture that Germany and France share common perspectives, values and approaches to a number of key issues in global health. However, they also share many gaps and weaknesses, with neither country having centres of knowledge, education, training and research in global health; and they also lack global health networks and think tanks that can help to develop policy, offer advice and recommend action on critical issues.
Several recommendations were made for strengthening both the overall position of global health in the two countries and specific aspects relating to CDs and NCDs, with an emphasis that future approaches must be designed to reflect the multi-actor, multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral aspects of global health. Areas highlighted included:
• clarifying the definition of global health and making the concept of global health better known and understood by the public, media and policy-makers;
• selling global health more effectively by finding issues to which politicians and the public would be sensitive;
• taking advantage of entry points that already exist, such as the G7 agenda, to expand interest in and commitment to further efforts on global health;
• developing clear narratives on global health that highlight both the gains that can be made and the dangers of neglecting critical challenges in the field;
• building capacities for education, research and career opportunities in global health;
• strengthening networks and establishing think tanks on global health in France and Germany and extending cooperation at many levels between the two countries.
The workshops have continued to prove valuable as networking opportunities involving a mix of experts including government, academia, practitioners, public and private sectors and NGOs – which reflects the diversity of actors in global health who are ready to come together and collaborate. The last workshop in this series will take on July 3rd in the embassy of France in Berlin.