Health Deputy Ministers and Official Representatives of the Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI) convened in Berlin on October 16, 2022, to strengthen public health preparedness and response to biological threats. In the face of the current and drastic changes to the health security landscape, there is momentum for taking next steps for joint action as well as bi- and multilateral assistance.
Health Deputy Ministers and Official Representatives of the GHSI focused their discussion on biological incidents and committed to intensify their response to threats caused by highly pathogenic or bioterrorism-related agents. The GHSI decided to strengthen their provisions for mutual support, including readiness for deployment of operational experts to best advise and support public health response in case of unusual biological incidents. In this regard, GHSI will further develop operational procedures for such expert support from public health authorities of GHSI member states.
The GHSI acknowledged the benefits, but also the current complexities, of rapidly deploying medical countermeasures (MCMs) internationally to respond to public health emergencies. GHSI will intensify the exchange on strategic MCM priorities in response to new or re-emerging biological threats. A common understanding of the actual threats and the need for MCMs as one important response capacity is crucial to face global public health challenges together. As a next step, GHSI will test procedures for the rapid request and release of MCMs.