Global Coalition on Aging  

APEC Lends Support for Health Innovation, Eyes Greater Worker Productivity, Economic Sustainability

Issued by the APEC Health Working Group

APEC member economies participating in the APEC High-Level Meeting on Health & the Economy Wednesday recognized the urgent need for APEC member economies to invest in the health of their populations at all stages of life in order to fully capture the economic returns of a healthy and productive populations.

Participants called on APEC Finance Ministers to develop budget processes and measures that factor good health as a source of economic growth and development.

The APEC Health Working Group and the APEC Life Sciences Innovation Forum released a joint statement at the conclusion of the high-level meeting held in St Petersburg, Russia and chaired by Russian Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Igor Kagramayan.

The meeting brought together officials from APEC’s 21 member economies with industry leaders and academic experts to examine high impact investments in economically cost-effective measures toward the healthy life style, early detection, prevention, early intervention, and management of NCDs throughout the entire human life course, from maternity and prenatal care through old age, to prevent and reduce the impact on economic growth and productivity.

Professor Peter Sheehan, Co-Chair of the APEC LSIF and Research Director of the Victoria University Centre for Strategic Economic Studies in Australia, presented the initial findings of a joint APEC LSIF-WHO study on the returns to investment in maternal and child health. The preliminary results have revealed that investment in the health of mothers and children could result in a return of over 22 percent, or USD $37 on every $1 spent.

“The APEC region faces the twin challenges of a rise in non-communicable disease through lifestyle choices and ageing demographics and unsatisfactory outcomes for maternal and child health that bring forward the age when non-communicable disease strikes and lowers economies’ long-term productivity potential,” said Dr. Kagramayan.

“It is essential to actively and cooperatively work to address these challenges and identify high impact investments that can be made along the life course that yield a real economic return and transform health into an asset and growth driver for APEC economies over the long-term,” he added.

William Weldon, Johnson & Johnson Chairman, offered the private sector view as APEC member economies discussed efforts to transform health into a source of economic growth.

Weldon said that “Health is not just a cost to governments or a social benefit to society. Good health can help improve worker productivity, create jobs across a range of businesses, alleviate poverty, secure personal well-being, and promote social stability.”

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