Health, A Common Good!

Universal healthcare coverage stands prominently among the World Health Organization’s (WHO) three strategic priorities. The rise in health disparities worldwide underscores the inadequacy of relying solely on market mechanisms to ensure access to healthcare. In response, the WHO is advocating for the development of “common goods for health,” which encompass population-based functions or interventions demanding collective financing, whether by governments or donors.

Beyond the realm of healthcare, adopting a perspective of health as a common good compels us to explore not only issues of healthcare access but also community engagement. It challenges us to transcend the boundaries of the healthcare system and consider the social and environmental determinants of health.

With these considerations in mind, the Geneva Health Forum (GHF) proposes to delve into these concepts within three pivotal domains:

Health and Environment: A Time for Solutions

The COVID-19 pandemic and climate change have clearly underscored the interconnectedness of health and the environment.

Environmental degradation profoundly impacts human health in various ways:

Additionally, the healthcare system itself contributes to environmental degradation.

Momentum: At the World Health Assembly 2024, a report will be presented on the actions undertaken by WHO to address the impact of climate change on health, as well as the impact of chemicals, waste, and pollution on human health.

The Geneva Health Forum conference will provide a platform for sharing experiences among stakeholders from academia, the private sector, political actors, and civil society. These exchanges will highlight the works of organizations addressing these challenges and actively implementing tangible solutions.

Migration, health and equity

Universal health coverage cannot be achieved without addressing the healthcare needs of the 281 million international migrants.

Migrants, often among the most vulnerable members of society, face significant challenges to their physical, mental, and social well-being due to their mobility. Factors such as irregular legal status, language barriers, financial constraints, and inadequate healthcare policies in host and transit countries hinder their access to essential healthcare. The alarming rates of morbidity and mortality among migrants represent a global health crisis that demands urgent attention from the international community.

Momentum: In 2023, the World Health Assembly extended the global action plan for refugee and migrant health until 2030, reaffirming WHO’s commitment to bridging gaps in healthcare access for refugees and migrants, regardless of their migratory status.

One year later, the Geneva Health Forum aims to assess the healthcare status of migrants and refugees while highlighting straightforward and inventive solutions developed by stakeholders in the field. Convening alongside the World Health Assembly, the GHF conference serves as a venue for academia, the private sector, political bodies, and civil society to share insights and experiences. Its primary goal is to amplify the voices of individuals dedicated to enhancing healthcare accessibility for migrants and engage in constructive dialogues with key stakeholders involved in supporting migrant populations.

Towards the Elimination of Malaria

The Malaria Elimination Strategy was adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2015. It aims for at least a 90% reduction in incidence and mortality rates, as well as elimination in 35 countries by 2030. The strategy was updated in 2021 to reflect lessons learned from the global response to malaria over the period 2016 to 2020.

Since then, numerous efforts have produced encouraging results. Between January 2015 and January 2024, 12 countries were certified malaria-free by the WHO. Nevertheless, malaria remains a major public health challenge, with 249 million reported cases and around 608,000 deaths by 2022.

The arrival of two malaria vaccines is raising new hopes, but their role remains to be fully defined in conjunction with existing tools such as treatment, seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) and mosquito nets. The complexity of implementing these vaccines poses significant challenges.

The emergence of resistance to treatments and insecticides are further obstacles to be overcome.

Momentum: At the World Health Assembly 2024, a report will present the current state of the fight against malaria.

In parallel, the Geneva Health Forum conference will provide a platform for sharing experiences between stakeholders from academia, the private sector, political players and civil society. These discussions will provide an opportunity to get an overview of the progress that has been made, as well as the challenges still to be faced. The aim is also to give a voice to those on the ground who are implementing these new strategies.


Geneva Health Forum

About the Geneva Health Forum

Established in 2006 by the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG) and the University of Geneva (UNIGE), the Geneva Health Forum (GHF) is a Swiss not-for-profit initiative that brings together a diverse range of stakeholders to discuss and address global health challenges.

The GHF plays a pivotal role in the global health landscape, as a neutral and inclusive platform, fostering dialogue and collaboration among key players in the field, including policymakers, representatives from academia, civil society, and the private sector.

Its core mission is to facilitate constructive dialogue among these global health actors, which, in turn, contributes to the improvement of health policies and access to care worldwide. The Geneva Health Forum proudly collaborates with some of the most prominent international organizations based in Geneva.