G20 to discuss global health policies in Mar del Plata

Over 30 heads of delegation will take part in the G20 Health Ministerial Meeting tomorrow. The agenda includes discussions on childhood overweight and obesity, and antimicrobial resistance.

Ministers and senior officials are expected to agree on shared global health policies and priorities at the G20 Health Ministerial Meeting taking place tomorrow in the seaside city of Mar del Plata.

Chaired by Argentine Secretary of Health, Adolfo Rubinstein, the meeting at the NH Gran Hotel Provincial will bring together over 30 heads of delegations, including representatives from G20 member and guest countries, as well as international organizations. The list of participants includes Alex Azar, US Secretary of Health and Human Services; Tawfig Alrabiah, Saudi Arabian Minister of Health; Gilberto Occhi, Brazilian Minister of Health; Fahrettin Koca, Turkish Minister of Health; Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety; and Lelio Marmora, Executive Director of Unitaid.

Malnutrition, with a specific focus on childhood overweight and obesity, is high on the meeting’s agenda. A priority issue for the Argentine G20 presidency, childhood overweight and obesity affected over 340 million young people from 5 to 19 years of age in 2016, according to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The agenda also includes discussions on antimicrobial resistance, the strengthening of health systems and their responsiveness to crises and pandemics.

At 12.30 pm local time, the G20 troika representatives will give a press conference, streamed live on the G20 YouTube channel. Secretary Rubinstein, together with Thomas Gebhart, German Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Health, and Chieko Ikeda, Japanese Senior Assistant Minister for Global Health, will brief on the meeting’s highlights.

Later in the afternoon, senior health officials will take part in a simulation exercise to find strategic solutions to a possible health crisis both domestically and globally. The exercise will recreate an outbreak of a particular bacterial strain resistant to medication. It will be facilitated by Chief Medical Officer for England and Chief Medical Advisor to the UK Government, Professor Dame Sally Davies, and Argentine journalist and doctor Nelson Castro.

Once the meeting is over, senior officials will issue a joint declaration with recommendations to be submitted for consideration at the G20 Leaders’ Summit.