Ebola reminded us once again that pandemics are a cross-border phenomenon with a global impact. Health crises and weak healthcare systems have the potential to destroy societies and destabilise countries while trading and bilateral relations can be significantly impaired and damaged.
The lesson we have learned from Ebola, Zika and outbreaks of yellow fever is that pandemics cannot be tackled by the healthcare sector alone, but require the interaction of a range of players and ministries. What is more, additional players have established themselves and new initiatives have emerged in recent years, thereby increasing the need for coordination.
Efforts to preserve global health must, beyond the healthcare sector, be seen as part of the global order, i.e. global health must be perceived and organised as a cross-sectoral challenge.
The German Government regards global health as an integral part of foreign policy and has defined a framework for action in its strategy paper on global health.
Coordinator for the Foreign Policy Dimension of Global Health Issues
The position of Coordinator for the Foreign Policy Dimension of Global Health Issues was created in the summer of 2015. Against the backdrop of the experiences of the Ebola crisis, the Coordinator is tasked with summarising and coordinating the various foreign policy aspects of global health policy – both within the Federal Foreign Office and beyond. At the same time, the Coordinator serves as a point of contact for the Federal Foreign Office for all overarching health issues. An important objective of the Coordinator’s remit is to improve the coordination of players working in the field of international healthcare structures.