Making the case for sustainable investment in wellbeing and health equity – A practical guide

Urgent action is needed to address the growing health, inequity, economic and environmental challenges that threaten the wellbeing of present and future generations. Current investment policies and practices are unsustainable and will result in high costs. At the WHO Collaborating Centre on Investment for Health and Well-being, based at Public Health Wales, these challenges are being tackled. They have produced a work plan for facilitating investment for health and wellbeing as a driver and enabler of economic, social and environmental sustainability and prosperity for all. In July 2019, the WHO CC published its first output, a practical guide on ‘How to Make the Case for Investment in Well-being and Health Equity’

By Anna Stielke, Kathryn Ashton, Mariana Dyakova, Michael Darke

Introducing the WHO Collaborating Centre on Investment for Health and Well-being

Public Health Wales is the national public health agency for Wales, aiming to achieve a healthier, happier and fairer Wales. It provides professional, independent advice and services to protect, improve and promote health and well-being and to reduce health inequalities. In March 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated Public Health Wales’ Policy, Research and International Development (PRID) Directorate as a WHO Collaborating Centre (CC) on ‘Investment for Health and Well-being’, recognising Public Health Wales as a world-leading authority on supporting investment in people’s health and wellbeing, driving sustainable development and promoting prosperity for all, the first WHO CC in this area of expertise in the world. It joins a network of over 800 WHO Collaborating Centres based in 80 countries globally.

The WHO CC’s works to ensure the organisation is a key player in research and global health, informing policy and practice, and improving the effectiveness, quality and efficiency of public health activities. The WHO CC designation builds on Public Health Wales’ long history of collaboration with the WHO, working closely with WHO Europe and the European Office for Investment for Health and Development in Venice.

A practical guide to making the case for investment in wellbeing and health equity:

This year, the Centre produced a practical guide to providing guidance and a framework to tackle the growing inequalities and scarce resources facing the healthcare sector and to support colleagues across the sector in developing their own tools, resources and plans in their own mission to manage these issues.

The guide outlines four key phases on how to synthesise, translate and communicate public health economics evidence into policy and practice.

These interrelated phases guide the reader through the process of developing evidence-informed products, accounting for context and target audience.

This guide

Is a practical tool to improve governance, investment and accountability for health and equity

Provides a step-by-step process to develop evidence synthesis reports to drive investment for health, equity and sustainable development

Supports the prevention of disinvestment in public health, investment in (public health) prevention, and mainstreaming cross-sector investment

Built on a framework of step-by-step processes, resources, tools and tips to develop advocacy and evidence translation products, the guide leads the user through the process of making the case for investment in health, equity and sustainable development.

The aims of the guide are to

  • prevent disinvestment in health;
  • increase investment in prevention (public health);
  • mainstream cross-sectoral investment to address the wider determinants of health and equity, driving sustainable development for prosperity for all.

Developed through a mixed-method approach, including an evidence review, a multi-sectoral stakeholder consultation, and interviews with national and international experts, the guide ensures relevance and transferability across sectors, contexts, settings and countries. It is intended to support key stakeholders, advocates for health and equity, civil servants and other health and non-health professionals who have a role in informing, influencing or shaping national and subnational policy and practice.

Making the case and advocating for investing in people’s well-being and health equity is more important than ever. Evidence shows that current investment strategies and financial approaches are unsustainable, leading to growing challenges for present and future generations. This guide promotes investing in evidence-informed, cross-sector, fair public policies and actions which benefit people, communities, society, the economy and the planet.” – Dr Mariana Dyakova (International Health Lead, WHO CC)

By building on the WHO Regional Office for Europe’s Health Equity Status Report and the United Nations 2010 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the guide supports countries and organisations in taking the next steps for building their case for sustainable investment. Key stakeholder, advocates for health equity, civil servants and other health and non-health professionals who have a role in forming, influencing or shaping national and subnational policy and practice will be enabled to develop healthy policy and decision-making across different sectors and country settings by using this guide.

In addition to the guide, the Public Health Wales WHO CC is developing related training resources and materials (on-line and face-to-face), as well as providing support to national and sub-national adaptation and application through tailored workshops and seminars.  People interested in using the guide are invited to contact the WHO CC for support, guidance, and further information about the tool.

Public Health Wales
Policy and International Health, WHO Collaborating Centre on Investment for Health and Well-being (WHO CC)
Floor 5,
Public Health Wales,
Number 2 Capital Quarter,
Tyndall Street,
Cardiff CF10 4BZ
Email: international.health@wales.nhs.uk

 

Resources and further information

The full guide is available as an interactive on-line PDF, easy to navigate and use, here: https://ihcc.publichealthnetwork.cymru/files/9815/6223/7672/WHO_CC_Investment_Guide_Interactive_English.pdf

A summary version (PDF for print) is available here: https://ihcc.publichealthnetwork.cymru/files/7915/6223/7713/WHO_CC_Investment_Guide_Summary_English.pdf

Information on the national public health agency of Wales Public Health Wales, can be found here:  https://phw.nhs.wales/

For further information on the WHO CC on Investment for Health and Well-being, please click the link below: https://ihcc.publichealthnetwork.cymru/en/world-health-organization-collaborating-centre-investment-health-and-well-being-public-health-wales/

Information about the WHO Office for Investment for Health and Development (Venice, Italy) can be accessed here: http://www.euro.who.int/en/about-us/organization/office-locations/who-european-office-for-investment-for-health-and-development,-venice,-italy

Further information about the Health Equity Status Report initiative (HESRi) can be found here: Tools: Link; Full report: Link;  Executive summary: Link; Interactive dashboard: Link

Mariana Dyakova MD, MPH, PhD, FFPH
WHO CC Deputy Director, International Health Lead at Public Health Wales | + posts

Dr Dyakova is a Specialist in Public Health and International Health Lead at Public Health Wales, deputy director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre on Investment for Health and Well-being. She has gained experience as a public health academic and professional, informing policy and practice in the UK and the European Region. Dr Dyakova has been working closely with the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the European Office for Investment for Health and Development in Venice, Italy, supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Health 2020 European Strategy and the Health Equity Status Report initiative (HESRi).

Kathryn Ashton
Senior International Health Evidence Development Officer at Public Health Wales

Kathryn Ashton is a Senior International Health Evidence Development Officer within the Policy and International Health Directorate of Public Health Wales, a WHO Collaborating Centre on Investment for Health and Well-being. Kathryn is an experienced researcher by background, working in the fields of social sciences, social policy, criminology and statistics.  Kathryn’s current work focuses on capturing the social value of public health using economic methodologies such as Social Return on Investment.

Anna Stielke
International Evidence Development Officer at Public Health Wales

Anna Stielke is an International Evidence Development Officer for the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre on Investment for Health and Well-being within Public Health Wales. Anna has been part of the international health team since 2016 and has worked on various topics such as sustainable investment, global health, migration and is currently looking at how to present a more holistic picture of the value of public health looking at the three dimensions of economic, environment and social. She is a member of the European Health Forum Gastein alumni network.

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