Poland: New report demonstrates how investing in health contributes to 2030 Agenda

A new report demonstrating how investing in health in Poland will contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was presented during a meeting co-organized by WHO, the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene. The report, to be released in its final version later this year, provides concrete evidence to advocate for investments in health and highlights the costs of ill health to the country.

Presentations and discussions at the meeting also provided the opportunity for stakeholders to discuss and review findings in the area of investment for health. Of particular interest was an assessment of the current level of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular the related health targets, which led to the identification of areas that require accelerated action. These priorities seek to reduce:

  • premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases, and associated lifestyle factors (like smoking, alcohol and obesity);
  • mental illness and suicide rates;
  • deaths and morbidity from road traffic injuries;
  • household out-of-pocket expenditure on health care and medicines;
  • environmental risk factors and inequalities.

One of the studies presented at the meeting illustrated the impact on public financing equilibrium and Poland’s gross domestic product (GDP) of the production losses resulting from health problems. For example, the total costs of production losses due to absenteeism of cancer patients and caregivers were calculated to be 1% of Poland’s GDP.

Many of the challenges explored throughout the meeting are to a large degree addressed in the Strategy for Responsible Development (2017), the National Health Programme 2014–2020 (2016), the Law on Public Health (2015), the National Strategic Framework “Policy paper for health care 2014–2020” (2015) and strategies in other sectors; however, the need for further action was identified. This includes an increase in quality public financing for health, enhancing intersectoral responsibility-sharing and cooperation, better coordination and division of responsibilities in public health policies, and local action for health and well-being.

The meeting was attended by representatives of a range of ministries, including: health; finance; agriculture; and family, labour and social protection; as well as representatives of the United Nations organizations in the country: the United Nations Environment Programme – Global Resource Information Database (UNEP-GRID), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); and the World Bank; and public health officials.

The findings of the report and the outcome of the meeting will be shared with the Task Force for Coherence of Strategy for Responsible Development with Agenda 2030 and will inform the voluntary national review of the SDGs.