News Outlets Report On Sessions At World Health Summit

As the World Health Summit continues in Berlin, some media outlets wrote about the discussions taking place.

CMAJ News reports on a special session at the summit, titled “Funding Global Health: Can Innovative Mechanisms Save the Poor?”

Though delegates “agreed that there is a desperate need to loosen the purse strings of governments, corporations and individuals so as to significantly bolster global health programs,” they “were less enamoured” with proposals for financial transaction and other types of taxes. “Robin Hood is not a hero in this country,” Detlev Ganten, chairman of the Charite Foundation and former chief executive officer of the Charite – Universitatsmedizin Berlin, said of the so-called “‘Robin Hood’ tax on all financial transactions that proponents say would raise as much as US$33 billion annually.” According to Ganten, new taxes won’t be accepted in some countries. “The way to go will be different in different countries,” he said.

Delegates at the session also discussed that international health organizations and developing countries receiving health aid should be more accountable for outcomes, and they addressed a need to encourage developing nations to “directly invest in the health of their own people.”

Former UNAIDS head Peter Piot, who is the director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is quoted, as well as Joelle Tanguy, managing director of the GAVI Alliance, and Rifat Atun, panelist and director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s strategy, performance and evaluation cluster (10/12).

Experts at the summit also discussed the growth of noncommunicable diseases in the developing world, Agence France-Presse/Haveeru Online reports.

Increasing rates of chronic disease is a “consequence of importing lifestyles from Western countries,” said Francis Collins, head of NIH. “An obesity epidemic is inevitable unless policies to reduce intakes substantially from fat and sugar with spontaneous increases in activity are introduced now,” said Philip James, chairman of the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF).

“We need to elevate health to a cabinet issue. We need to put this on the agenda of heads of state,” said the World Economic Forum’s Olivier Raynaud, who deals with health issues for the organization. Meanwhile Pekka Puska, director general of the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland, pointed out, “From a medical point of view, [noncommunicable diseases] are preventable.”

According to the WHO, about 80 percent of new cases of cancers, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are now recorded in developing nations (10/13).

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