(Berlin, October 9, 2016) The 8th World Health Summit started on Sunday in Berlin, with more than 800 participants on site. In his opening speech in the plenary hall “Weltsaal”, German Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe emphasized that global health politics face huge challenges: “The fight against antimicrobial resistance and the coping with word-wide health crises require a close coordination and co-operation. The involvement of non-governmental organizations is also indispensable for solving global health problems.” The World Health Summit offers an excellent forum for representatives of policy, science, non-governmental institutions, and industry for exchange.
The main topics at the ceremonial opening focused on current major topics in health-related sectors, including migration and refugee health, technological innovation in healthcare, and the fight against infectious diseases like Ebola and Zika.
WHS Presidents Detlev Ganten and Antoine Flahault, University of Geneva, highlighted the need for cooperation between academia, politics, the private sector, and civil society – at both national and international levels: “Let’s work together on 2016 as a year where a course was set to achieve ambitious and binding agreements that will improve health on a global scale. This is the task and the goal of the World Health Summit, it is our collective challenge“, said Ganten.
Ren Minghui, the WHO’s Assistant Director-General for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases, was vocal about the situation of the health workforce in regions of war like Syria: “WHO condemns all attacks on health workers and hospitals. We all must do more to guarantee their safety.”
Emmanuelle Charpentier, the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, who is renowned for co-discovering CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology, explained how this method has the potential to revolutionize the fight against diseases in various areas.
The evening’s other speakers included Swiss Federal Councillor Alain Berset, who heads up the country’s Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA), and Erwin Paul Böttinger, CEO of the Berlin Institute of Health.
On the second day of the World Health Summit (Monday, October 10), speakers will include:
– Helle Thorning-Schmidt (CEO, Save the Children) and Yves Daccord (Director General, International Committee of the Red Cross) on refugee health (Keynote Lecture “Migration and Refugee Health“, 11:00 am, Weltsaal)
– Yukiya Amano (Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency), Jutta Allmendinger (President, Berlin Social Science Center WZB), Frans van Houten (CEO, Royal Philips), Lloyd B. Minor (Dean, School of Medicine, Stanford University), and Pascale Ehrenfreund (CEO, German Aerospace Center DLR) on the role of Big Data and High Tech for health (Keynote Lecture “Technological Innovation for Health“, 16:00/4:00 pm, Weltsaal)
The WHS-Startup Track will also commence at 13:00/1:00 pm on Monday. In it, 10 selected startups from six countries will present their concepts for the future of healthcare in a pitch competition taking place in front of a jury and audience. About 80 startups from 22 countries had applied to take part. The winner will be granted the award that same evening by the high patron of the WHS Startup Track – German Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe.
Further information on the WHS Startup Track:
Like the entire World Health Summit, the WHS Startup Track event is open to the press. Accreditation:
Live-stream of the World Health Summit: http://www.worldhealthsummit.org
Under the high patronage of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the WHS is the premiere international platform for exploring strategic developments and decisions in the area of healthcare. For three days, more than 250 speakers present new developments in health in more than 40 sessions. This year’s speakers include four Ministers of Health and two Nobel Prize laureates. More than 1,800 participants from about 90 countries are expected.
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