BIAC Forum to Spark New Ideas for Better Healthcare

By Helen Medina 

Two athletic woman running outdoors. Action and healthy lifestyle concept.

Health is everyone’s business. Not only do we as individuals have a stake, but policymakers need to ensure that national populations are active and healthy for the sake of their economies. OECD countries are keenly aware of this and are striving to develop and maintain sustainable healthcare systems that harness the power of innovation and achieve better health outcomes, greater productivity and well-being. We all know that health challenges are complex and there is no single solution to global problems, but business is a key component to unlocking ideas and providing answers.

Against this backdrop, the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC)  is hosting a Forum on Innovation in Health and Well-Being on May 3-4, 2016 in Paris at the OECD Headquarters. This unique two-day event will allow participants to exchange solutions and policy recommendations with high-level representatives from the business community, governments and leading voices in the field. We are thrilled that Riz Khan, a well-known international journalist and author, recognized across the globe for having had flagship TV shows on CNN International and Al Jazeera English, will moderate the discussion.

Follow the event at #BIAChealth

This packed event will showcase the diversity of how business is involved in providing solutions to health care challenges. Participants will learn how the food and drink industries are investing in innovations to deliver healthier products for consumers. As employers, businesses are also providing wellness programs that empower populations and increase productivity. The business community knows that we are just one stakeholder, and the event will showcase examples of partnerships with governments and community stakeholders to reduce risk factors for chronic diseases, as well as education programs that encourage populations to become physically active and adopt healthy lifestyles.

The second day will address business views on how to create sustainable healthcare systems. We believe that a 21st century healthcare system must be patient-centered to be effective, and the integration of digital technologies is vital to making strides in areas of disease prevention and management.  And of course having stakeholder dialogue is crucial to striking a balance between encouraging innovation and improving access to new medicines. Business understands that delivering innovation requires a broad policy framework involving multiple government agencies. Government and business collaboration will be essential in all phases of research. The discussion outcomes of the meeting are relevant for the global health community.

I look forward participating in this unique opportunity and hope to see you in Paris!

Find out more about the BIAC Forum on Innovation in Health and Well-Being.

 

USCIB Monthly Health and Nutrition Blog

March: Global Nutrition: What Is the Private Sector Doing?

February: We’ve All Got to Work Together On Global Health Issues

January: Businesses Celebrate American Heart Month

Global Nutrition: What Is the Private Sector Doing?

SDG Goal 2 End hunger, achieve food security & improved nutrition, promote sustainable agriculture

By Helen Medina

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month in the United States?  For policymakers, nutrition is top of mind.  In fact, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals place nutrition and the mission to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture” at number 2 only after Goal 1 which is to “End poverty everywhere.”

It is indisputable that nutrition provides a vital foundation for human development and is central to meeting one’s full potential.  Nutrition is also important from an economic point of view. Hunger and under-nutrition weaken the mental and physical development of children and adolescents. This in turn lowers the work capacity and income potential of adults and leads to huge social and economic costs. According to estimates by a 2013 UN Food and Agriculture Organization report, hunger and under-nutrition cost the global economy an estimated 2-3 percent of global gross domestic product, equivalent to $1.4-2.1 trillion per year.

The private sector is a key actor in providing nutrition from investing in agriculture; to improving the social, economic and environmental practices in farming and the supply chain; to mobilizing, innovating, and finally delivering agricultural products and food.

So what is the private sector doing on nutrition? For starters, the private sector is a key actor in providing nutrition from investing in agriculture; to improving the social, economic and environmental practices in farming and the supply chain; to mobilizing, innovating, and finally delivering agricultural products and food.  As an employer, the private sector also has a vital role in increasing the livelihoods of society as a way to address poverty, malnutrition and under-nutrition. But that’s not the whole picture. It’s far from it and more can be done. One stakeholder alone can’t solve complex nutrition challenges.

The importance of good governance policies and regulations that support private sector involvement in agriculture should not be underestimated. Access to finance and empowering women is also crucial for improving nutrition around the world. Women are often the family’s primary caretakers and they tend to invest in their children’s health. It’s therefore important for governments to promote policies that help women become farmers, traders and entrepreneurs. Promoting trade and investment in agriculture is also crucial for combating global hunger. There is significant evidence from UN reports that demonstrate increased trade, particularly in the agriculture and food industry, raises the standard of living in developing countries and improves the performance of national economies, all of which are necessary for healthy societies.

Additionally, multi-stakeholder partnerships should be encouraged. More and more of these types of approaches are widely recognized as necessary to increasing the scope of financial and human resources in order to tackle nutritional challenges on a large scale. The private sector often partners with governments and researchers to innovate and create new tools for farmers that improve nutrition. It is essential for all stakeholders to work together and develop a global food system that improves people’s nutrition in a sustainable way. We are committed to public-private partnerships that support nutrition strategies and to preserving natural resources to continue to grow food which is necessary for nutrition.

USCIB Monthly Health and Nutrition Blog

February: We’ve All Got to Work Together On Global Health Issues

January: Businesses Celebrate American Heart Month

Businesses Celebrate American Heart Month

heart_cardio_resized_ssby Helen Medina

February marks American Heart Month, a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health. According to the American Heart Association, nearly 801,000 people in the U.S. died from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases in 2013. That’s about one of every three deaths. The direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular diseases and stroke total more than $316.6 billion, including health expenditures and lost productivity. 

As innovators and employers, companies are only as strong as the communities that they work in and serve, and they are committed to offering and developing essential medicines and technological solutions for consumers.

USCIB’s members understand the importance of health and wellness, both for their employees and for the wider communities in which they operate, because healthy, happy employees are more productive. Many U.S. companies are innovators when it comes to promoting heart health, in addition to supporting a holistic approach to health and wellness. As innovators and employers, companies are only as strong as the communities that they work in and serve, and they are committed to offering and developing essential medicines and technological solutions for consumers. Additionally, companies are forging innovative public-private partnerships that educate and encourage populations to develop and maintain healthy lifestyles, while also investing in new technologies and innovations that fight diseases.

Given the importance of a healthy lifestyle and the private sector’s role in helping achieve this, USCIB has been working with the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC) to organize a Forum on Innovation in Health and Well-Being from May 3-4. This forum will inform discussions for OECD Health Ministers when they meet in 2017 to discuss the next generation of health reforms.

The BIAC Forum will provide an opportunity to:

  • Exchange solutions and policy recommendations with high-level representatives from the business community, governments and leading voices in the field.
  • Learn more about the innovations and on-the-ground partnerships private sector is undertaking.
  • Explore how healthy populations can be a strong pillar for increased economic productivity and societal well-being.

Please stay tuned as we continue developing the program for this Forum. Due to limited space, the event is by invitation only.

Read last month’s USCIB Health Blog entry, We’ve All Got to Work Together on Global Health Challenges

We’ve All Got to Work Together on Global Health Challenges

USCIB is pleased to launch this Health and Nutrition Blog, which will include our priorities, activities, and updates related to global nutrition and health policy in major United Nations, World Health Organization, and OECD processes. We look forward working with our members and all stakeholders as they address global health challenges as we aspire to to a healthier 2016 for all! 

By Helen Medina

nutrition_globeAs in years past, January 1st is the time that many Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Often those are associated with a pledge to live a healthier lifestyle. One can experience the result of this undertaking in overcrowded  gyms, jam-packed yoga classes and in the media with advice on how to keep those resolutions. Health and wellness is top-of-mind for many of us, and especially with policymakers. While each of us may be experiencing different challenges to achieve our own optimum well-being, there is no dispute that health is important for all.

Many countries lose approximately two to three percent of their GDP due to under-nutrition, and worldwide, non-communicable diseases account for 60 percent (35 million) of global deaths.

In fact, the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals reflect the importance of nutrition and health, with targets listed at the top as goals 2 and 3 respectively. Goal 2 aims to address the challenges the world faces as the population continues to grow. More effort and innovation are needed to increase agricultural production, improve the global supply chain, decrease food losses and waste and ensure that all who are suffering from hunger and malnutrition have access to nutritious food. Goals 3 is “ensure healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages.” The associated targets aim to reduce the rate of global maternal mortality, end preventable deaths of newborns, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases and end certain epidemics.

The Access to Nutrition Index indicates that 805 million people globally suffer from hunger and more than two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. The economic costs of under-nutrition are high, as many countries lose approximately two to three percent of their GDP due to under-nutrition. In Africa and Asia, the cost can be as high as 11 percent of GDP.

According to the World Health Organization, non-communicable diseases (NCD) make the largest contribution to mortality both globally and in the majority of low- and middle-income countries . Worldwide, NCDs account for 60 percent (35 million) of global deaths. The largest burden – 80 percent (28 million) – occurs in low- to middle-income countries, making NCDs a major cause of poverty and an urgent development issue. They will be the leading global cause of disability by 2030.

USCIB understands the scale and complexity of these global challenges. Together with our members, we are actively following and participating in international discussions on nutrition because we believe that no one organization, industry or government can make a material difference completely on its own. Instead, we must bring forward and catalyze partnerships that connect across business, government and civil society. Working together is key to addressing today’s health challenges. As innovators, goods and service providers and employers, companies are only as strong as the communities that they work in and serve, and they are committed to offering solutions and actions.