Bern, Press release, 09.03.2012

The Federal Council today approved Switzerland's new health foreign policy, which will enter into force on 15 March 2012. This policy establishes priorities and defines cooperation between all administrative units in matters of global health policy.

To tackle the current challenges in the area of health, for example the fight against pandemics, the prevention and treatment of noncommunicable diseases (cancer, diabetes, cardiac and circulatory diseases, chronic respiratory diseases), the global shortage of health personnel and the reform of the World Health Organization WHO, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) have been co-operating closely and successfully on the basis of an agreement on objectives since 2006. The revision of health foreign policy and its formal approval by the Federal Council should further strengthen this cooperation, in which other administrative units are involved, and place it on a broader basis.  

Health foreign policy defines goals and the measures needed to achieve them as well as the instruments for cooperation between the units concerned in the federal administration. A new feature of this policy is that actors outside the federal administration (cantons, research, civil society, industry, service providers in the health industry, etc.) will be more closely involved in the implementation of health foreign policy.

The new health foreign health policy will establish priorities in areas such as cooperation with the EU on health and consumer protection issues, the strengthening of the role of the World Health Organization (WHO), research on global health questions, the strengthening of Geneva as a health capital and the improvement of health provision at the national and local level by means of structural reforms in development cooperation.

In approving its new health foreign  policy, the Federal Council intends to make Switzerland's stance in international bodies dealing with aspects of health more coherent and whenever possible to create synergies. The Federal Council is aware of Switzerland's strengths. It not only has one of the best health systems in the world (as confirmed by the OECD/WHO report of October 2011) but also has outstanding research institutions and an innovative pharmaceuticals and Med Tech industry. These factors and the country's serious approach to its development responsibilities enhance the country's credibility as a global actor in the area of health. 

Further information:

Second report by WHO and OECD on the Swiss health system

Address for enquiries:

Giancarlo Kessler, Head of Sectoral Foreign Policies Division, FDFA
Tel. +41 31 323 07 74

Maya Tissafi, Deputy Director SDC
Tel. +41 31 322 87 89

Gaudenz Silberschmidt, Vice Director FOPH
Tel. +41 31 322 66 50


The Federal Council
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
Federal Department of Home Affairs