The G20 discusses the role of women in health

Senior officials from G20 countries and invited guests took part in the Second Meeting of the Health Working Group in Geneva.

Cutting across the entire 2018 Argentine G20 presidency, gender perspectives were a key discussion item at the Health Working Group (HWG), which is holding its second meeting of the year today and tomorrow.

The meeting is taking place in Geneva on the margins of the World Health Organization’s 71st World Health Assembly which convenes next week. Among the many issues, senior officials from G20 countries, invited guests and partner organizations are debating the role of women in human capital for health, particularly in leadership positions.

“Although women are predominant in health response teams in a majority of countries, they are not always in leadership or decision-making positions in the sector,” said Analía López, chair of the HWG and Chief of Staff at the Argentine Ministry of Health.

The debate on gender applies to issues of how to strengthen health systems, which will occupy an important part of today’s agenda. This topic implies deploying human capital as well as healthcare networks to be adequately oriented to primary healthcare. It also takes into account the development of health information networks and improving the quality of services. Tomorrow’s focus will be on the response of health systems to catastrophes, emergencies, and pandemics.

This meeting in Switzerland is the second of this year’s three meetings of the Health Working Group, one of the 11 work streams of the G20. Of the other two meetings, held in Argentina, the first was in Buenos Aires in March, and the final meeting will be held in Mar del Plata in October, the day before the Meeting of Health Ministers. The ministers will prepare a document of recommendations to be presented at the Leaders’ Summit on 30 November and 1 December in Buenos Aires.

Participants at all of the HWG’s events include representatives of G20 members and the countries invited by the Argentine presidency: Chile and the Netherlands. There are also multiple international organizations involved including the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO).