Health issues "deserve to be on the G20 agenda in our networked world," Chancellor Merkel said at the start of the meeting of G20 health ministers in Berlin. Strengthening health systems in poorer countries and the fight against antibiotic resistance were the key topics of the meeting.
"The fact that global health is to become a constant on the G20 agenda is a strong signal we are sending from Berlin today," said Federal Health Minister Hermann Gröhe at the end of the meeting of G20 health ministers.
The G20 countries also plan to hold regular exercises to prepare for health risks, "because we have to use the time available to ensure we are fully prepared," Gröhe said. The G20 countries' pledge to begin implementing National Action Plans by the end of 2018, to ensure that antibiotics are available only on prescription and to push ahead with research represented an important breakthrough in the fight against antibiotic resistance, he said.
Resolutely fighting antibiotic resistance
The use of antibiotics needs to be significantly reduced in order to effectively combat antibiotic resistance. Especially in livestock farming, antibiotics are often not only used to treat sick animals but also to promote their growth, for instance. The European Union banned such use back in 2006.
In January 2017 the G20 agriculture ministers agreed to permit antibiotics for therapeutic purposes only. Federal Health Minister Gröhe wants to ensure that across the world antibiotics are available for use in both animals and humans only on prescription that must be issued by a trained professional.
"Antibiotics are one of the most important achievements of modern medicine in the fight against infectious diseases and when it comes to safeguarding surgical procedures. Our ability to fight bacterial infections is, however, increasingly being placed in jeopardy or even becoming impossible due to the global rise in especially dangerous pathogens," Gröhe said. "If we do not act now, together and across the world, we are heading for a post-antibiotic era. And that will have dramatic consequences for us all."
Saturday May 20, 2017/ The Federal Government/ Germany.