Selected quotes – World Health Summit 2017

15-17 October 2017
Berlin, Germany







M8 Declaration 2017
“Health is a Political Choice”



Opening session
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Director-general, World Health Organization (by video):
Congratulations to German Chancellor Angela Merkel for enhancing the twin goals of universal health coverage and global health.
Outbreaks are inevitable but epidemics are preventable, including through access to a universal health care service.
Evidence and experience show that universal health care is reachable for all countries at all income levels – it is a political choice.
Joanne Liu, International president, Medecins sans frontiers
We need to end ‘selective humanitarianism’ where national security interests outweigh more general humanitarian needs.
In Yemen, the security agenda has not seen healthcare as part of its tactics. As a result, there are 800,000 cases of cholera – the most massive outbreak in modern history – because the healthcare system has collapsed.
Roger Kornberg, Stanford University, USA, Nobel laureate
The call to pursue basic medical research often goes unheeded as resources shift from research to application. 
“Do basic research.” The medical advances of the past 100 years have all come from researching nature/natural systems.
We now just 1% of medical knowledge. How much better could our medicine be if we knew the other 99%?
The annual cancer research budget is in the USA is about USD5 billion – about the same amount as is spent on soft drinks each year.
Session on: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Zoe Boutilier, International Devlopment Research Centre (IDRC), Canada
Some countries are still trying to establish the baselines from which they will set their SDG targets.
Luiz Augusto Galvão, Centre for International Relations in Health, Brazil
The ‘health in all policies’ idea has created resistance/push-back from other sectors that see the health sector as trying to dictate its agenda. We need to be careful how we go about trying to break down silos.
Saadiya Razzaq, Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Pakistan
Four pillars are needed to attain the SDGs: (i) multi-sector approach; (ii) multi-stakeholder approach; (iii) awareness, among the public but also including educating financial sectors; and (iv) data (disaggregated for gender, age group, sub-district, etc), without which we cannot make plans.
Pablo Vega, National Health Fund (FONASA), Chile
The most important part of the SDG agenda is ownership. We need to make people aware of the goals so that they are calling for their implementation.
Session on: Global health security
Wolfgang Ischinger, Chair, Munich Security Conference, Germany
There have been more than 450 attacks on healthcare facilities in Syria, killing more than 800 healthcare workers.
Peter Albiez, CEO, Pfizer, Germany
Only the provision of safe drinking water has prevented more deaths than vaccinations.
Paul Boateng, Member of UK Parliament, House of Lords
As long as we have people in our world who don’t have access to sustainable healthcare systems, diagnostics, higher education institutions, research and developments, etc, there will be a lack of health security and we are all going to be as risk collectively.
The trick is to get different departments/sectors working together, e.g. ministries of health, foreign affairs, development, etc. Such departments don’t like it, but to make a difference they have to do it.
Laurie Garrett, Council on Foreign Relations, USA
Globalisation was never about the grassroots; it was always top-down. But with the rate of progress, it became difficult for nations to keep pace. It has also tremendously skewed global wealth to the point where eight people have the same wealth as the rest of humanity combined. This has occurred in nearly all nations – whereby a nation’s wealth is held by its richest 1%. This is having a huge impact.
Even if it is globalized, the World Health Organization (WHO) predates globalization. It answers to ministries of health, but these are not connected to their nations’ grassroots.
About 73% of antibiotics are used in animal husbandry and aquaculture. This practice should be banned. It is not a good trade-off: people’s lives versus a marginal increase in the growth of livestock
Peter Salama, Health Emergencies Programme, WHO
Risks [of outbreaks and epidemics] are growing daily, monthly, by the year. Among the bottlenecks to an effective response is the capacity of fragile countries and those in conflict to respond. 
The financing model is broken. It is fragmented, funds are too tightly earmarked, and there is short-termism. This is not the way we would design a robust global health security system. For example, regarding the current outbreak of pneumonic plague in Madagascar, we asked donors for USD5 million to kick-start our response. We were told, more or less, to come back when it gets worse / when more people have died.
Philip Frisch, Medecins sans frontiers
We need to put the patient at the centre. We talk about diseases threatening economies, threatening security, but not threatening people.
Session on: One Health
Frank Rühli, University of Zurich, Switzerland
How do we change the human behavior that is driving pandemics? We need to recognize that we are the problem. We need to look at the past and learn from it to react better in the future.
Lothar Wieler, Robert Koch Institute, Germany
There is an ongoing pandemic of a new type (biovar) of anthrax in the wildlife in various African countries. There has been no spillover so far – but we are on the verge of it. There is a need for sentinels and monitoring.
How do we implement the One Health approach? There is a need to engage more colleagues from more disciplines. We need to build long-term relationships and collaborations; to build trust to change behaviour and reduce infectious behavior. 
Paul Verschure, N-RAS Centre for Autonomous System and Neuro-robotics, Spain
Life expectancy in the western world is slowly increasing, but healthy life expectancy is staying the same or decreasing. This is a worry, especially with a growing, ageing population.