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Meet Ambassador Stéphanie Seydoux, Co-Chair of the Council

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Meet Ambassador Stéphanie Seydoux, Co-Chair of the Virchow Foundation for Global Health Council 

Stéphanie Seydoux was appointed French Ambassador for Global Health in 2018, helping design and implement the French Strategy for Global Health executed by French actors all around the world. Ambassador Seydoux represents France in various international organisations and was actively involved in in the 6th Global Fund Replenishment conference in Lyon, in October 2019. Ambassador Seydoux started her career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Afterwards she joined the ENA (Ecole nationale d’administration) and the General Inspectorate of Social Affairs (IGAS) in 2004. From 2007 to 2010, she was Head of Equality Promotion at the French Independent Equality Commission, before serving as Deputy Ambassador at the French Embassy in Kenya. Upon returning to France, she became Head of the French Women’s rights department from 2014 to 2017. Ambassador Seydoux is motivated to join the Council to bring attention to global health and help ensure it remains high on the political agenda.

From your perspective, why is engagement and awareness raising for global health important?

Health is a crucial dimension of our lives, quite obviously. What priority could be greater than to keep ourselves alive, and healthy? Yet, investments in health and even political prioritisation remain structurally insufficient worldwide. The global response to the Covid-19 pandemic reflected this underestimation of the risks. The pandemic has therefore provided a stern warning and tragic opportunity to re-invest in health, at national levels, and above all collectively, in order to ensure that we are better prepared and able to react more efficiently. This implies strengthening the multilateral governance of pandemic preparedness around the World Health Organization, and ensuring sustainable investments in health systems, the “first line of defence” against health crisis, as well as the foundations to build Universal Health Coverage and achieve SDG3. Solidarity and equity are crucial in this respect. Therefore, health is by essence a global issue. Individual health, national health policies, and multilateral health approaches are interconnected. This is why engagement and awareness raising for global health are key: they ensure that health remains high on the global agenda.

How are you committed to engaging in global health topics within your current professional role and activities?

As French Ambassador for Global Health, I have helped implement my government’s strong commitment to global health through our main priorities: the fight against infectious diseases, through our considerable investment in the Global Fund Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in Unitaid, and in Gavi, the vaccine alliance; reinforcing the multilateral approach to global health issues via strengthening of WHO; ensuring an equitable response to the Covid-19 pandemic with the creation of the Access for Covid Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), to which France has contributed largely; supporting health systems and human resources for health in a Universal Health Coverage perspective, in particular through the WHO Academy established in Lyon with French support; promoting a “One Health” approach with the establishment of the One Health High Level Expert Panel and the Prezode Network. These priorities were convergent with those of the European Union, under French Presidency in the first half of 2022, and will be embodied in the next European Strategy for Global Health to be launched soon, an exciting perspective ahead!

How do you hope to achieve greater awareness and engagement for global health in your new role at the Virchow Foundation for Global Health? How can the Virchow Prize for Global Health help to increase awareness?

I was honoured to be appointed Co-Chair of the Council of the Virchow Foundation for Global Health. The role of the Council is to advise the Foundation, in particular on the process for designation of the laureate for the Virchow Prize for Global Health devolved to a high-level committee. The creation of this novel prestigious prize is excellent news as it will undoubtedly bring both attention and “lettres de noblesse” to high level engagement in Global Health.

Find out more on the Virchow Foundation for Global Health Council and its Members here: https://virchowprize.org/council/ 

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