Include, invest, innovate – Health Systems for Prosperity and Solidarity: leaving no one behind

WHO high-level regional meeting, Tallinn 2018

In June 13th-14th three Young Gasteiners were dispatched to Tallinn to help disseminate outputs from the WHO high-level conference organised to reaffirm the principles signed by WHO members in the 2008 Tallinn Charter. It provided a forum to discuss challenges facing these principles of health for prosperity and solidarity: present and predicted political and financial headwinds.

The conference sought to reaffirm, through new evidence, that health systems based on solidarity are the most efficient means of facing these challenges.

It was split into three themes:

  • Include – The ethical arguments of improving coverage, access and financial protection for everyone (universal health coverage) are well trodden. However, the conference highlighted the economic case and the huge increases in expenditure amongst poorer WHO European region (+/-10% increase in annual expenditure) for these reasons.
  • Invest –the case for investing in health systems was further stressed for ensuring a productive workforce and longer labour-market participation, amongst other reasons. The importance of value-based healthcare in providing tangible economic evidence towards investing in health systems was provided. Communication on returns on investment over different timescales was also found to be key to persuading finance ministries.
  • Innovate – experience of harnessing and spreading innovations were elaborated. The conference converged on the need for multi-stakeholder visions for innovative healthcare systems. These visions must provide the pathway and incentives for scaling up and spreading innovation. Innovation should be a tool to shrink, not widen health differences between and within countries. Participants were honest and clear that health systems based on solidarity need to be efficient, responsive and require reform. Innovation was viewed as key to these requirements and thus key to safeguarding the solidarity underlying our systems of universal healthcare.

Conclusion: Currently expenditure in health systems is seen as a black hole. The forecasted growth in expenditures to around 14% GDP by 2060 requires a stronger case being made of this expenditure as an investment. Innovation in HTA/pharmaceuticals are a good example with their value-metrics. However, the low hanging fruit seems to reside in health services innovation and spread. It is here where the efforts of the WHO and OECD are focussed.

Check out the blogs on:

Include written by the Young Gasteiner Karolina Mackiewicz: here

Invest written by the Young Gasteiner Dimitra Panteli: here

Innovate written by the Young Gasteiner Philip Hines: here

The three Young Forum Gastein authors together with their fellow Young Gasteiner Gabriele Pastorino (left)

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