WHO establishes “Council on Economics of Health for All”


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced a new Council on the Economics of Health for All
to put “Health for All” at the centre for value creation and economic growth.

The information is in a statement from WHO headquarters in Geneva on Friday.

It stated that the council would be led by economists and health experts.

According to the statement, the Council will also comprise health experts who will focus on investments in health and achieving sustainable, inclusive and
innovation-led economic growth.

The statement quoted the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, as saying “the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the consequences
of chronic under-investment in public health.

Ghebreyesus, who made the announcement on the final day of the resumed 73rd World Health Assembly on Friday, said “we don’t just need more
investment; we must also rethink how we value health.’’

The council is chaired by noted economist Professor Mazzucato, Professor of the Economics of Innovation and Public Value and Founding Director
in the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at University College London.

Ghebreyesus said “the Council will aim to create a body of work that sees investment in local and global health systems as an investment in the future,
not as a short-term cost.

“Designing such investments makes our economies more healthy, inclusive and sustainable.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, with 52 million reported cases and 1.3 million deaths, has shown the dire consequences of chronic under-investment in
health on the global economy and on the lives and livelihoods of billions worldwide.

“Over the past year, the pandemic has ignited socio-economic crisis like no other; a crisis that has undermined global stability and solidarity.

“It has stressed how interdependent health and the economy are and served as a reminder that health is a human right.”

The statement also quoted Mazzucato as saying “we are living through multiple crises: economic, climate and health related. If we continue
to patch up the system each time, we will always be one step behind.

“ I am thrilled to work closely with Dr Tedros on a proactive Health for All economic agenda, to shape our economies so they truly have wellbeing and inclusion at the centre of how we create value, measure it and distribute it.

“Returning to the status quo following the pandemic will not be enough – we need an innovation-led transformation of our health systems to achieve economic well-being

The Council on the Economics of Health For All is expected to hold its first virtual session in the coming weeks to discuss its work plan and mode of operation.

The Council will produce thought leadership for implementing change, and help to inform the piloting of initiatives at country level.