WHO European Ministerial Conference on Health Systems: “Health Systems for Health and Wealth”, Tallinn, Estonia, 25–27 June 2008

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In response to a resolution of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in 2005 (1), the WHO Regional Office for Europe held the WHO European Ministerial Conference on Health Systems: “Health Systems, Health and Wealth” at the Estonia Concert Hall and National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Tallinn, Estonia, from 25 to 27 June 2008, hosted by the Government of Estonia. Focusing on the dynamic relationship between health systems, health and wealth, the Conference:

  • explored how well-functioning health systems contribute not only to health but also to wealth and economic development (through, for example, workforce development, increased productivity, alleviating the cost of illness and lowering the number of those seeking early retirement);
  • considered the conditions in which good governance ensures that wealth (economic development) leads to improvements in health, and vice versa; and
  • investigated how productive investment in health systems can contribute to both economic development and social welfare.

Specifically, the objectives of the Conference were:

  • to lead to a better understanding of the impact of health systems on people’s health and therefore on economic growth in the WHO European Region;
  • to take stock of recent evidence on effective strategies to improve the performance of health systems, given the increasing pressures on them to ensure sustainability and solidarity; and
  • to culminate in the adoption of a charter on health systems that would provide a strategic framework for strengthening health systems throughout the Region and foster political commitment and action, while recognizing the diversity of the Region’s health systems and policy contexts.

Here is the official Conference report.