The press release sounds proud: “With more than 1,000 participants on site, the 9th World Health Summit kicked off on Sunday in Berlin. In his opening speech, German Federal Minister of Health, Hermann Gröhe, said that global health policy has become a hallmark of Germany’s international responsibility: ‘We will continue, in the future, to fulfill this international responsibility and actively shape global health policy. In this process, it is important to have close cooperation based on trust between politicians and civil society, foundations, scientists and business circles. The World Health Summit in Berlin is also a forum that is held in high international esteem and is dedicated to jointly furthering global health.’”
The aforementioned 1,000 participants came from 100 countries. Is that a lot? Or less than it should be? After all, it is much more than the May 2017 G20 health session in Hamburg. (Anyways, the results on global health security went down along with the “results” of the local insecurity in Hamburg.)
If 100 countries sending their medical, pharmaceutical, and microbiological experts and politicians to Berlin sounds big and promising, then how about we consider another figure: the general population of Berlin consists of people from 180 countries. Why not invite THEM to the brainstorming session on how to solve global health problems, or perhaps the more appropriate term, “challenges”? They may not be experts, but the innovation driven by the experts at the Health Summit hit a “dead end” (please excuse my macabre wordplay). In the end, the general public must accept the solutions (if any!) from experts and politicians. So why not help in preserving healthy, clean air by sparing 1,000 guests the to-and-from flights from their respective countries and reducing the enormous volume of CO2 coughed out by airplanes?
Oops! I forgot this is a field for other experts. The same experts that came to Paris last year and worked out the complicated contract which aims to reduce CO2 in our global atmosphere. Sadly, before the ideas and decisions from that meeting could even begin to be implemented, it was shot down by Mr. Trump. Who, might I add, is neither an expert, nor a real politician.
Please, let’s think globally, and act locally. How about a pilot “Design Thinking Workshop” with Berliners from different countries and – much more importantly – different professions and backgrounds? They will bring brilliant and practical ideas regarding how to improve global health without further distorting the global atmosphere. As an expert in Design Thinking, I pledge my honor on that…