Tackling Health Issues in Low Income Countries - German Sentiment
While the requested information is not readily available in the public domain, there are indications that most Germans find it important for their government to play an active role in helping other countries solve their problems, including health-related challenges. There are other global issues that appear more important than health issues, however, and they include ending poverty and improving education. Germany is one of the frontrunners in the area of promoting good health and well-being for all and most Germans express satisfaction with the overall direction their country is taking, so it is likely that Germans are satisfied as well with the collective efforts of their government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as far as tackling health issues in low-income countries is concerned.
Since public sentiment is of interest, we looked for surveys, interviews, or opinion pieces of Germans and their views on the following topics: health issues in low-income, third-world, or developing countries, global issues, foreign or humanitarian aid, and the achievement of the United Nations' sustainable development goals (SDGs). Information specific to health issues in low-income countries is very limited, but from the few surveys that we found, we were able to pull together insights that enabled us, in turn, to form conclusions about the public sentiment.
THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD PLAY AN ACTIVE ROLE
There is a source suggesting Germans, particularly young German adults, expect their government to play an active role in helping low-income countries tackle health issues. Page 56 of the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers Survey, which polled 3,641 young people aged 18-35 in Germany, shows that nearly all young German adults find it important for their country's government to play a part in solving other countries' problems. Fifty-four percent of young adults in the country believe their country's participation is very or extremely important, while 43% consider it slightly or moderately important. Given that the majority of young German adults view their country's participation as very or extremely important, we can deduce that most young German adults want their government to play an active role in solving other countries' problems, including health-related ones. Bertelsmann Stiftung's research in 2017 also indicates that 80% of Germans agree that the European Union should expand its role in global affairs.
GERMANS HAVE PRESSING INTERNAL PROBLEMS, HOWEVER
Though most young German adults believe their government should play an active role in helping less fortunate countries, Germans have other more pressing problems. Ipsos GmbH surveyed 1,630 German adults in 2017 on behalf of the Center for Insights in Survey Research, and respondents were asked to identify the most concerning problem Germany is facing.
Based on page 7 of the center's survey results, the problems that emerged on top were as follows: social inequality and poverty (18%), refugee policy (16%), terrorism (8%), pensions (7%), jobs and unemployment (7%), crime (6%), immigration control (6%), social problems (4%), rise of extremism (4%), education (4%), safety, security, and peace (4%), healthcare (3%), international wars or crises, politics or internal policy (2%), environment-related threats (2%), youth problems (1%), taxes (1%), democracy or rule of law (1%), economy (1%), European Union membership (1%), and others (2%). These figures suggest that these problems will be prioritized over other countries' health issues.
OTHER IMPORTANT GLOBAL ISSUES are more prioritized
According to Germans, some areas for international engagement deserve more attention than others. Page 9 of The Berlin Pulse shows that, based on a survey of 1,005 German respondents in 2017, the areas Germans think require Germany's engagement, in order of decreasing importance, are as follows: fighting terrorism and ensuring security (71%), protecting the climate and the environment (67%), protecting human rights worldwide (64%), controlling illegal immigration to their country (54%), improving developing countries' living conditions (49%), protecting their country's interests overseas (41%), and helping other countries achieve democracy (24%).
On the other hand, Ipsos published a slide presentation of its Goalkeepers Global Youth Outlook Poll that it conducted for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and based on slide 39 of this presentation, when it comes to global issues, German adults find promoting health (17%) more important than improving access to jobs (8%) but less important than ending poverty (45%), improving economic fairness (23%), and improving education (21%). German youth find promoting health (17%) more important than improving access to jobs (12%) but less important than ending poverty (38%), improving education (25%), and ending conflicts (21%).
MOST GERMANS ARE SATISFIED WITH THE DIRECTION THEIR COUNTRY IS TAKING
Based on Bertelsmann Stiftung's research in 2017, 59% of Germans express satisfaction with the overall direction Germany is taking. This finding suggests that Germans may also be satisfied with their country's collective efforts as far as health issues in low-income countries are concerned. Sources indicate that the country is one of the most active countries in the area of global health.
In an article published by the Council on Foreign Relations, it was mentioned that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, together with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, wrote the global health community and the World Health Organization (WHO) a letter, publicly asking for increased commitment to the SDGs of the United Nations and recommending that the WHO develop a “Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All.” The three leaders hope the action plan can be prepared in time for the next World Health Summit, which will be held in Berlin. "Good health and well-being" is Goal 3 of the United Nations' SDGs.
It was mentioned in the article as well that Germany is intensifying its efforts, politically and financially, to alleviate global health problems. Germany is one of the main contributors to The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the WHO's Contingency Fund for Emergencies. A study published in the journal The Lancet also talked about Germany's growing role in the area of global health. According to this study, "Germany has become a visible actor in global health in the past 10 years."
Considering that Germany is one of the few countries at the forefront of advancing global health and the United Nation's SDGs, it is unlikely that Germans have any complaints as to how their government and NGOs are tackling health issues in low-income countries. As mentioned earlier, Bertelsmann Stiftung's research found that most Germans are satisfied with the direction their country is taking and that among European countries, the satisfaction rate is highest in Germany. Moreover, according to slides 67 and 68 of the Goalkeepers Global Youth Outlook Poll, 65% of German adults and 66% of German youth find the United Nations' SDGs important.