How did the Geneva Health Forum start?

The GHF was  launched in 2006 in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of its parent organization- the Hospitals of the University of Geneva (HUG),  marking a long-term commitment to the provision of health care, research, and training both locally and internationally. Drawing on the city of Geneva’s specific mandate as a host city to international organizations and its fertile global health environment, the GHF has capitalized on both the HUG’s and the Faculty of Medicine’s pre-existing international health cooperation activities developed since more than two decades.

After a successful first edition, the GHF was integrated as a program within the Division of International and Humanitarian Medicine at the HUG where the GHF operational team works.

As the initiator and organizer of the Geneva Health Forum, the Division of International and Humanitarian Medicine (DIHM), in addition to being the main centre in Geneva (Switzerland) for travel medicine, tropical medicine, and medical parasitology, is actively involved in global health related activities contributing and supporting the fulfilment of the triadic mandate (teaching, research and support to health services) of the University public hospital.

What has been the thematic focus of the Geneva Health Forum?

Held biannually, the GHF is an international conference that keeps the pulse on the global health agenda with a specific aim of contributing to bridge the gap between policy and practice.

Based on an open call for abstracts, each edition is canvassed to highlight the most pressing contemporary global health challenges.  While soliciting and carefully reviewing accounts and experiences from those on the frontlines, whether they are working at the local level in a rural clinic or developing policy at the national level in a ministry or in an international organization.

Four successful editions of the GHF have been held so far:

This first edition in 2006 provided a state of the art forum on Access to Health around the world. The aim was to show the diversity of approaches that contribute to improving access to health and build a sustainable agenda for global health.

The second edition in 2008 focused on the Strengthening of Health Systems and the Global Health Workforce. At the time of the conference, evidence showing that Global Health Initiatives might be disruptive of national health systems was presented. While there was an agreement that health systems should be strengthened, conflicting views were presented on how to best achieve this goal.

The third edition in 2010  was titled ‘Globalization, Crisis, and Health Systems: Confronting Regional Perspective’ and focused on identifying sustainable responses to crises, placing emphasis on lessons learned from local and regional initiatives. At a moment where multiple crises were unfolding, involving finance, food security and global environmental change, debates focused on how health needs to be brought out of isolation, looking not only at strengthening health sector responses but considering also the health consequences and mitigation measures of crises arising from others sectors. While crises jeopardize health accomplishments it was recognized that crises by revealing existing weaknesses and disparities, offer the opportunity to formulate potential reforms and innovation.

The fourth edition of the Forum held in 2012 focused on the growing challenges chronic diseases pose to health systems in high and low-income countries, in stable and emergency situations. These conditions which require a comprehensive and sustainable health system response as well as action across non-health sectors, gave the GHF the opportunity to revisit some its traditional themes among which health systems strengthening, the social determinants of health and multi-sectoral action.

Where can I find more information about the previous editions of the GHF?

More information on the past editions of the GHF can be found on this website. All sessions, documents are present on the same website. To browse the archives, select programme archives, programme overview in the menu bar. You can also browse the content thematically either through our 13 main thematic tracks or through the tags