Health

World Health Organisation assembly in Geneva
Switzerland is home to a number of international health organisations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva. © UNPhoto/Eskinder Debebe

The FDFA contributes to Switzerland's foreign policy in the field of health, working together with various national and international actors. In order for Switzerland to be able to adopt a consistent position with its partners, it is important to reconcile their various interests and viewpoints.

Swiss Health Foreign Policy

New global challenges make health a major foreign policy concern. That is why a common approach to cooperation and coherent positions at the international level in line with the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) is needed. Switzerland coordinates health-related issues within the scope of its national, foreign and development policies, so as to be able to play a credible role in international institutions and bodies and defend its own interests. To this end, it has developed an instrument to promote cooperation within the Federal Administration: the Swiss Health Foreign Policy, adopted by the Federal Council in 2012 and updated in 2019. The policy establishes Switzerland's pioneering role in this regard at the international level. The updated 2019–24 version sets out six priority fields of intervention: health protection and humanitarian crises, access to medicines, sustainable health systems and digitalisation, health determinants, global health governance and addiction policy.

International organisations

Switzerland is home to a number of international health organisations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the GAVI Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation).

Other international organisations, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), also deal with specific health-related matters. Switzerland seeks to adopt a consistent position across these various bodies.

Bilateral exchanges

Switzerland attaches great importance to bilateral exchanges with other nations. The Swiss healthcare system is considered one of the best in the world and is attracting growing interest from other countries. In 2018, the share of exports of pharmaceutical products accounted for 37.9% of goods exports (customs administration) and the gross value added of the health sector (nos. 86 and 87 in the NOGA General Classification of Economic Activities) accounted for 7.5% of Switzerland's gross domestic product (FSO). It is therefore important for Switzerland to maintain contacts and exchange experiences with other countries.