HMM successfully kick-started more intensive cooperation in the health field within the “16+1” group

HMM successfully kick-started more intensive cooperation in the health field within the “16+1” group

Looking back on Health Ministers Meeting (HMM) 2015, the first ever summit of health ministers from the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) and China that took place from June 15 to June 17 2015 in Prague, one can say it was a success. It was attended by representatives of the CEEC and China, as well as the World Health Organization’s Director General Margaret Chan, who gave one of the opening addresses, high-ranking delegations and dozens of experts from various fields of health care and from the sphere of business. A summit of this scale gave rise to a brand new approach to cooperation in the health sector in the countries of the so-called “16+1” group.


MT0A1346Several hundreds of attendees gathered in the premises of the Hilton hotel in Prague, where the summit’s opening ceremony was held as well as the rest of the main program. Leading experts from several fields of health care gave lectures or attended those of others in eight panel discussions, and had the opportunity to debate the presented topics and opportunities afterwards. An exhibition focused on traditional Chinese medicine was also a part of the program.



MT0A1261“The realization of this summit itself and the fact that you, leading experts, doctors, researchers and entrepreneurs, are attending in order to discuss topics associated with health, scientific and economic cooperation – this proves the significance and success of the “16+1” group,” said the Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka at the summit’s opening ceremony.

He reminded the audience that, of all the CEEC, it was the Czech Republic who signed a memorandum of cooperation at the level of health ministries together with the PRC, and also expressed his delight that thanks to the HMM, this successful cooperation had spread across the “16+1” group. The Prime Minister also pointed out that while pursuing sustainable development of the society one cannot act in isolation when it comes to such an important area as health care, on the contrary, the best of all traditions and innovations created all over the world should be linked together.

“With this goal in mind, we offer reciprocal education, exchange scholarships, academic and industrial cooperation and collaboration of experts. I enjoy sharing our experience in developing high-quality health care in the Czech Republic, our know-how and unique technologies,” said Bohuslav Sobotka.


MT0A1139LIU Yandong, the Vice Premier of the State Council of the PRC, also addressed the attendees. She informed them about China’s ongoing process of reforming health care in order to provide every Chinese with the access to the basic health services. Regarding this, China is facing enormous challenges. “In the future, we will continue the development and learn from the experience of other countries,” said LIU Yandong.

She also said that she had already visited eight CEE countries and experienced the kindness of their people. “Geographically, our countries are not close, but our hearts are,” she added. She stressed that the friendship of the people of the CEEC and China had lasted many years and that the cooperation had been significantly evolving during the last three years. “Together we represent one fifth of the world‘s population and we can contribute to the development of health care all over the world,” said LIU Yandong.

The summit was held under the auspices of the Czech and Chinese ministers of health Svatopluk Němeček and LI Bin. Both ministers delivered a speech at the opening ceremony.


MT0A1236According to the Czech Minister of Health Svatopluk Němeček, it is the health sector that pioneers the cooperation within the “16+1” group, which was also confirmed by the summit. “There is no doubt that the health systems of our countries are different, very different in some respects. However, as the ministers of health we want to provide our citizens with the best care possible. In these globally connected times we cannot reach this goal each on our own, and that is why I would now like to appeal for our mutual cooperation,” said Svatopluk Němeček.


MT0A1369The Chinese Minister of Health LI Bin confirmed that in the health sector there truly is laid a good foundation for cooperation. She mentioned the memorandum of the Czech and Chinese ministries of health and also offered to share the experience of traditional Chinese medicine. “China is ready to share its experience of TCM with the CEE countries…,”said LI Bin.

According to the Minister, the complex needs in the health sector were reflected well by the HMM. The ongoing cooperation may thus represent an excellent beginning of its more intensive form in the future. “This is a good opportunity to interconnect the Eastern and Western wisdom,” she added.


The two ministers also called for cooperation not only at the level of the ministries, but also on the level of health organizations, individual medical facilities and between individual experts. The goal the HMM set for itself was to encourage and successfully kick-start cooperation of exactly this scope and form.