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International support by RKI since 2014. Source: Andreas Haertle - Fotolia, edited by RKI

The Robert Koch Institute as international hub for health protection networks

When there are health emergencies across the world, such as disease outbreaks, the Robert Koch Institute’s expertise is in ever greater demand. RKI staff are involved in various international research projects and programmes. They help, amongst other things, with the surveillance of pathogens, to fight disease outbreaks, provide diagnostics capacities in partner countries and to collect comparable health data in EU member states. Thus, the RKI helps to tackle urgent public health problems and improve people’s health. People in Germany also profit from this international commitment, e.g. if disease outbreaks are stopped in time. Since July 2017, RKI's central role in international health protection has also been fixed by law ("Gesetz zur Modernisierung der epidemiologischen Überwachung übertragbarer Krankheiten").

The Robert Koch Institute cooperates with international partners like the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the EU Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). There are two WHO reference laboratories (polio and measles/rubella) at RKI, and since 2016, the institute has been the WHO Collaborating Centre for Emerging Infections and Biological Threats. RKI is also partner of WHO’s Global Outbreak Alert & Response Network, supporting affected countries world-wide to tackle outbreaks. Apart from that, RKI is closely connected with other international institutions, allowing a better exchange of knowledge, methods and views and setting up further research networks. Thus, the Robert Koch Institute is not only the public health institute for Germany, but also an international hub for health protection networks.

From 1 December 2016 to 30 November 2017, Germany had taken over the presidency of the G20, the premier forum of the 20 leading industrialised and emerging countries. Health was a central topic: In May 2017, the first ever G20 health ministers' meeting took place in Berlin, dealing with sustainable improvement of health systems in developing and emerging countries, the global fight against antimicrobial resistance and more.

Date: 16.03.2018