The failure of world leaders to address health during G20 summits is being highlighted by health leaders this weekend. As Presidents and Prime Ministers gather in Brisbane for the G20 summit on Saturday and Sunday, a parallel H20 International Health Summit is being organised in Melbourne on Thursday and Friday by the World Medical Association, the Australian Medical Association and AMA Victoria.
The health summit, starting two days before the G20 meeting, intends to show world leaders that good health should be regarded as a high priority and a wise and valuable economic investment.
Dr. Mukesh Haikerwal, Chair of the WMA, said: ‘It is astonishing that health is ignored when our leaders meet. When you look down the agenda for G20 summits you will find issues like financial regulation, tax reforms and global trading, but never health. And yet without good health, other issues cannot be achieved. Politicians who ignore this are being very short sighted.
‘The H20 Summit will support the notion that health is the greatest social capital a nation can have. If anyone needs convincing of this they need only look at the Ebola outbreak which emerged from a part of the world with poor health systems and lack of finance and which became a global threat.’
The Melbourne health summit will focus on health as a wise investment, the burden of non-communicable diseases, the social determinants of health and the health effects of climate change. Speakers from across the world will talk about how to tackle these issues and will urge world leaders to regard them as core strategies in every country’s international social and economic success.
Dr. Haikerwal added: ‘All the evidence is that there is a powerful link between health and economic growth. And it is time world leaders accepted this by making health a priority in their discussions’.