The Netherlands and the European Union are both developing a global health strategy. Such a strategy describes the goals, direction and concrete activities in the field of global health in the coming years. Recently, they held consultation sessions and an online consultation. We provided written input from Wemos and also as a partner of the Dutch Global Health Alliance. In the Netherlands, we also attended six roundtable sessions. And for the EU consultation, we participated in a hybrid ‘deep dive on priorities, governance and partnership of the new strategy’ session to be used as input for the EU strategy.
Our contributions focused on four themes.
1) Effective health financing
We call for effective public financing of primary health care (including sexual and reproductive health services) in low- and middle-income countries and question the use of private financing and public-private partnerships in local primary health care. We highlight the principles of global public investment, a new innovative way of financing global public goods that can contribute to decolonising development cooperation.
2) Investing in health personnel
We advocate for investment in health workers in low- and middle-income countries; they should be adequately remunerated, well-trained, equipped and protected. Health workers are essential to the functioning of resilient health systems. Especially in times when the healthcare system is under great pressure such as during a pandemic.
3) Availability and affordability of medical products
We stress the importance of attaching conditions to public funding for medical product innovation. This will make it possible to require transparency, availability and affordability of products developed with public funding. Governments and the private sector should encourage local production and the transfer of knowledge about the production of these medical products in low- and middle-income countries. Finally, it should become easier to enter into non-exclusive global licences so that multiple manufacturers can produce medical products that are needed, for instance in the event of a pandemic.
4) Resilient health systems, including for sexual and reproductive health & rights
The Netherlands should continue its leadership role in sexual and reproductive health & rights (SRHR). It is essential to embed SRHR in – and thus pay more attention to building – strong, resilient health systems. These are a prerequisite for realising SRHR and important for making the Dutch commitment to this theme sustainable. The European Union should also make a case for SRHR and integrate it into the new strategy.
We also stress the importance of an intersectoral approach and cooperation in which ‘health-in-all-policies’ and OneHealth principles are central. Cross-sectoral thinking and action should underpin all specific goals of the global health strategies.
Read our full contributions:
Our input on the internet consultation for the global health strategy for the Netherlands (in Dutch).
Our input on the internet consultation for the global health strategy for the European Union.
Photo: Erich Westendarp via Pixabay