Working Group 1: Summary

Working Group 1 discussed the economic rationale for investing in chronic disease prevention.

This working group discussed the paper by Marc Suhrcke et al., ‘Economic consequences of chronic diseases and the economic rationale for public and private intervention’.

Working paper >>

Other relevant documentation >>

The initial presentation of the working paper was given by Marc Suhrcke. The facilitators for the working group were Steve Leeder and Martin McKee.

Martin McKee provided feedback on the discussion groups.

How can the paper be improved?
  • A first priority is to work out at which audience the paper is aimed. There are two kinds of people – those who understand the economic terminology and those who do not, and because of this, discussion in the working group was in two parallel conversations. This needs to be avoided in the future.
  • The final product must be usable by multiple audiences – perhaps by adapting the main paper into different forms.
  • The paper needs to identify and understand needs and expectations of all the target audiences. For example, the legitimacy of state action on chronic disease is not even on the agenda in some countries, but is a hot topic in others. Every ministry, country, company is specific.
How do we move forward, using the information in the paper?
  • The paper makes clear the need for more data from more – and a wider range of – countries.
  • There needs to be an expansion in analytic capacity, and investment in shared methodologies to achieve consistency in research outcomes (e.g. STEPS model).
  • A major textbook to make the economic case would be useful (written by academics for academics). [It was pointed out by Derek Yach that a textbook is in the pipeline, and that the economics case could fall within its remit.]
  • There is a need for an army of people to take the economic knowledge forward and adapt it to different national and local circumstances.
What do we want OxHA to do?
  • Ideally, OxHA should use the economics paper as the basis for a series of short, focused papers for finance ministries in developed, developing and transition countries. The Wanless Report, for example, has done this in the United Kingdom. The papers would need to be clear but well referenced.
  • OxHA should be a serious advocate for the collection and development of evidence. It is important to generate evidence from around the world, as people and politicians are most likely to be swayed by information from their own countries.
  • OxHA should provide a forum for people who are interested in these issues to develop ways of moving forward.