Diseases do not stop at borders. This applies to deadly epidemics such as Ebola and the spread of antibiotic‐resistant bacteria, as well as to noncommunicable diseases like diabetes. Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well‐being for all (UN Sustainable Development Goal 3) is thus a global challenge that must be tackled in international cooperation. Collaborative global efforts are needed to fight and prevent disease.
Access to health care and the protection against the risk of contracting a disease are fundamentals for social development and the fight against poverty. Vaccines, drugs and other medical equipment, however, are often
either unavailable or unaffordable for many people especially in low‐ and middle income countries. Global Health deals with questions like: How are diseases diagnosed? How can diseases be treated? What can be done to
strengthen health care systems sustainably?
A global challenge
Countries across the globe face similar challenges: aging populations, the rise of chronic conditions, antibiotic‐resistances, and the threat caused by deadly epidemics. It is, however, the poorest populations that suffer
disproportionately. There is an urgent need to develop strategies, medications and vaccines in order to combat poverty‐related and neglected diseases and stop premature and preventable deaths. Yet due to only minor
profitability, research‐driven pharmaceutical companies usually show limited interest in developing pharmaceuticals for the poor. Without accessible and affordable cures, diseases are turned into neglected diseases and disadvantaged individuals into neglected patients. To change this situation is a global challenge. One step towards change is public funding of research.
A strong German national research community is the basis for successful international cooperation
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) issues project funding at the national level to initiate new projects in areas with major research needs. This includes funding talented young researchers so that they can help expand the German research landscape on neglected and poverty‐related diseases. BMBF also funds the National Research Network on Zoonotic Diseases, which addresses research on animal‐transmitted diseases. Research on these socalled zoonoses is vital, since diseases with major epidemic potential or high fatality rates, like for example influenza, Ebola and others, can be transmitted from humans to animals and vice versa. The National Research Network on Zoonotic Diseases helps to connect research networks, individual projects and junior research groups.
Further information: German Research Platform for Zoonoses
At an institutional level, the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), set up by the BMBF, focuses on pressing issues of infection research. In the field of neglected and poverty‐related diseases, these are primarily malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis which are also tackled in cooperation with African partner institutes.
Further information: DZIF -German Center for Infection Research
Germany is taking responsibility
Public funding can contribute to progresses in Global Health significantly through targeted research and development efforts in cooperation with affected countries. At the same time, high‐income countries can help to strengthen under‐resourced health systems, so that medical innovations can reach the people who need it
most. The BMBF is therefore participating in several international cooperations bundling material, financial and intellectual resources. Germany is taking the responsibility to address the health problems of the world’s poorest.
International efforts for Global Health
Challenges in Global Health require transnational efforts – both at European and global level. Germany moved Global Health issues into the international spotlight during its G7 and G20 presidencies. In its G7 presidency, Germany made neglected and poverty‐related diseases two of the top priorities. This commitment was continued in 2017 at the G20 leaders meeting in Hamburg. In addition, the fight against antimicrobial resistance was put into focus.
In line with Germany’s engagement, BMBF has set up a variety of measures and initiatives in the area of Global Health. These comprise, for example, initiatives on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), epidemic preparedness, clinical trial partnerships and others. The aim of these initiatives is to support international research activities, with a special focus on Sub‐Saharan African countries.
For more information on these measures, please follow the tiles below.