Invest4Health Embarks on Foresight Exercise for Future Health Financing

Invest4Health, an innovative initiative dedicated to transforming public health financing, is launching a foresight exercise to envision the future of health promotion and disease prevention financing by 2040. The need for a new approach to public health financing is more pressing than ever. With public finances in a fragile state, cost-effective strategies spanning multiple sectors are essential to ensure efficient resource utilisation. This initiative recognises that prevention and health promotion are valuable investments with far-reaching personal, societal, economic, and environmental benefits.

However, the future is uncertain. Since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical tensions and climate change-related shocks have pushed health off the policymakers’ agendas despite increasingly complex health needs and expectations. The value of promoting health and preventing illness has depreciated in just a few short years. Without realignment, our approach will remain reactive, prioritising treatment over prevention. Thus, the Invest4Health foresight exercise aims to explore future health service and financing landscapes, identifying pathways to secure greater resources for health-promoting initiatives by 2040.

The foresight exercise will analyse existing trends and capture participants’ perceptions of how concepts like ‘Smart Capacitating Investment’ can increase health promotion and disease prevention resources. The process will involve experts from various sectors, including service providers, decision-makers, investors, and citizens, who will participate in one or two online and in-person workshops. These workshops will validate horizon scanning exercises, generate future scenarios, and describe concrete actions that could take us closer to achieving the goals of Invest4Health by 2040.

The kick-off meeting, scheduled for 12 September 2024, will feature sessions to align and frame key concepts and instruments, validate emerging trends, and generate future scenarios. Participants will engage in interactive discussions and breakout groups to review and validate trends and develop future scenarios using trend cards and tools like the ‘cone of plausibility’ or ‘future funnel’. The goal is to foster a deeper understanding of future trends and challenges and initiate discussions on aligning strategies and investments to promote effective health promotion and disease prevention.

Following the kick-off meeting, individual national workshops will be conducted in four test-beds: Haverfordwest, Aachen, Santiago de Compostela, and Malmö. These workshops, held between September and October 2024, will co-create narratives advocating for local, immediate changes to systems prioritising health promotion. Participants will develop initial steps for strategies and action plans to build towards sustainable financing for health-promoting systems, enhancing engagement and commitment from stakeholders. By envisioning the future and aligning strategies, the Invest4Health foresight exercise aims to pave the way for sustainable investments in health promotion and disease prevention, ensuring a healthier and more resilient society by 2040.

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