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Be-cause health: an open and inclusive look at the future of global health

The recent COVID crisis showed that, even today, this is not an abstract theme: during the development, production and access to vaccines, it became clear that a global health divide still runs between North and South.“Health is more than hospital beds, ventilators, drugs and vaccines. It is also about access to care and health knowledge, but equally about access to a healthy environment and a sound job. In short, it is about inequality, social protection, resilient healthcare systems and knowledge sharing. Organisations like Be-cause Health have well understood the need to broaden our view. They keep us on our toes as a government, encouraging us to critically examine and continuously improve policies. This is invaluable. If we set Global Health as our goal, there can be no taboos,” says minister Caroline Gennez. On 23 and 24 March, the Be-cause health platform, which unites stakeholders in Belgium and low and middle-income countries, is organising a hybrid international conference “Breaking taboos in global health”. The aim is to discuss aspects and challenges that remain underexposed in most discourse around global health, including discrimination and racism, migration and diaspora, climate justice, (de)colonisation and power, exclusion and inequality, and (de)growth. Enabel is hosting the conference on 24 March. The Directorate for Development Cooperation (DGD) of our FPS and the Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation, Caroline Gennez, will actively participate. Access to health care as a cornerstone of social protection is in fact one of the pillars of Minister Gennez’s policy and the Belgian development cooperation, both in bilateral programmes carried out in the 14 partner countries and for multilateral financing (including UN agencies and humanitarian action) where Belgium systematically prefers core-funding in order to make aid as efficient as possible. By deliberately placing low and middle-income countries at the centre of the dialogue, the conference also wants to include their views and knowledge in a debate that is usually dominated by affluent countries. An open mind combined with respectful exchange of opinions and experience could lead to better understanding, which should benefit global health. Moreover, during the upcoming Belgian presidency EU2024, Belgian development cooperation will focus on the elimination of inequalities in access to healthcare and medicines. Addressing and breaking global health taboos with low- and middle-income countries is an excellent opportunity to establish a way of working that is based on respect and inclusion.The Belgian Development Cooperation (DGD) deliberately works on naming and fighting stereotypes that still perpetuate discrimination today.


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