Good health and thriving economies are inextricably linked, and hinge on access to quality and effective health services necessary for all citizens to lead healthy, safe, and productive lives. Investment in the health economy and support for innovation yield dividends, resulting in poverty reduction, and contributing to long-term social development and prosperity. Businesses and associations from many G20 countries have come together in a new Global Health and Human Resources Knowledge Partnership, to call on G20 leaders to commit their support for measures that will enhance the growth and competitiveness of national economies by improving population health, security, and productivity.

The robust health economy of tomorrow starts with investing today in preventive care over the life course of populations and extends to advances in treatment and in digital health. These are catalysts that expand the reach and availability of health services for all, including the most vulnerable and underserved populations. Building robust health economies requires the commitment of resources not only in infrastructure and systems, but also in training skilled workers able to serve people in their communities. Being prepared to face future health challenges requires greater reliance on subnational evidence-based assessments, data-driven performance improvement, and horizon scanning. This is essential to allow health systems to plan for and absorb new solutions and technologies for the benefit of all population segments, enhance efficiency and reduce waste in healthcare resource expenditure. In the face of changing demographics, aging populations and increasing life expectancies, a commitment to preventative care, life course immunization and research to address diseases such as cancer and other common non-communicable diseases (NCDs), dementia and Alzheimer’s is needed to support healthier aging and longer, more productive lives for all.

Strengthening healthcare systems requires an on-going commitment to health as an investment, not a cost. We call on G20 leaders to seek fiscally sustainable ways to maintain or advance universal health coverage, improve access to healthcare services over the life course in their countries, with special attention to support the most vulnerable populations in their path toward healthcare for all. Strengthening healthcare systems requires a collaborative and integrative approach, one that prioritizes health services that deliver the most value for all population segments and reduce financial risks and out-of-pocket expenditure for patients in the longer term. Partnerships between governments and the private sector are essential, building on the engagement and expertise of contributors at local and international levels, starting with R&D and across the supply chain. This partnership and holistic strengthening of healthcare systems will curtail, in financially sustainable ways, the social and financial burden caused by the proliferation of non-communicable diseases and the vulnerability of people living with these diseases. Innovations in drug, vaccine and diagnostic technologies are key to coping with these diseases, which are placing a growing burden on public and private funding of healthcare systems around the world.

Leadership in Global Health Security and Pandemic Preparedness requires continuous international coordination and commitment as the progress made can easily be reversed if we are complacent. Preparedness is key in preventing and effectively dealing with infectious disease epidemics and pandemics, which constrain trade and economy and are ultimately best combatted through health promotion and disease prevention at the primary healthcare level. We call on G20 leaders to foster collaboration between governments and the private sector to address the challenges of antimicrobial resistance, to consider fundamental changes to the environment to stimulate future investments for epidemics and pandemic preparedness innovation. This includes prioritizing strong and resilient national routine immunization programs, reaching the threshold rates of coverage needed, to prevent the threat of epidemics and pandemics, such as Ebola, that know no borders.

We welcome the meeting of G20 Health Ministers in Argentina this week, and the commitment by the government of Japan to host the next G20 Health Ministerial in 2019 as the world’s “super aging “ nation and a global leader in advancing scientific research and health policy. Our growing Partnership stands ready to engage in a dialogue with the G20 Health Working Group to advance solutions to common challenges.

Issued by the Knowledge Partners of the Global Health and Human Resources Knowledge Partnership:

Image: G20 Argentina