The G20 Health Working Group (HWG) was established under the German Presidency in 2017 to develop a shared international agenda on issues such as strengthening health-care systems, reducing malnutrition, health-crisis management and scaling up the fight against pandemics. In 2018, the Argentinian Presidency continued the existing work on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and Health System Strengthening, and introduced childhood obesity.
The Japanese Presidency 2019 also pursued the AMR workstream with OECD support (Antimicrobial resistance), and focused on the achievement of Universal Health Coverage UHC, on population ageing and management of health risk and health security.
In 2020, the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic largely dominated the work of the HWG. The access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics was at the core of the G20 agenda, as it is under the Italian Presidency 2021. A Health and Finance Ministers meeting was organised by the Saudi Presidency, with OECD support in informing the discussion, to address the intertwined economic and health crisis.
The OECD contributed in 2020 to the work of WHO on the assessment of gaps in pandemic preparedness, and supported also the Saudi Presidency on the following initiatives:
- The establishment of the Global Innovation Hub for Improving Value in Health transformation towards sustainable health systems, to which the OECD currently participates
- The establishment of the Digital Health Taskforce to enhance knowledge in specific areas of digital health: currently the OECD supports the Taskforce in the sharing of good practices around the use of digital health tools and to support countries’ response to the pandemic and prepare for the post-pandemic phase.
- Establishment of a Global Patient Safety Leaders Group, with the purpose of bridging implementation gaps through system-level solutions and locally applicable innovative solutions.
The Italian Presidency will also hold a Health and Finance Ministers meeting in 2021, in addition to the Health Ministers’ meeting and the Global Health Summit (which took place on 21 May 2021) co-chaired with the EU.