An interview with Bogi Eliasen: Part 2

In this second part, we explore the role Movement Health 2030 can play in tackling these issues, how it approaches each challenge and Bogi’s own part in the movement.

What do you see as Movement Health 2030’s key purpose? 

Although each country would reject this claim, we’ve estimated that around 80% of health challenges globally are very similar. Obviously, countries are different in lots of ways, but the diseases and health issues tend to be the same.

So Movement Health 2030 is all about learning from other countries and working with the best people and organisations within each country. We want to help them to design health systems and health in society for the future and support them in adopting the necessary changes to tackle those recurring health challenges.

It’s important to stress that this is not about Movement Health 2030 taking over. This is about us working on the ground within countries, bridging gaps, promoting best practices and connecting across boundaries, so we can become stronger together. We see health as a fundamental—if not the most important—pillar for growth, equality and equity in societies. It's not just about delivering health services; it’s also about promoting organisational stability.

Movement Health 2030 has two tracks. The first is systemic change within countries, so policy shifts or thinking about new directions and how they could work. That's largely top-down. The second is largely bottom-up—the scaling of solutions and innovations that offer improvements. In summary, it’s working out what we need to change in order to get more sustainable health systems, healthier populations and greater value for money, then helping to promote that change

What sort of approach does Movement Health 2030 take? 

When we start in a country, we first conduct extensive interviews and research. Then we present our own ideas on the strengths and weaknesses that we see, and also the opportunities.

At the same time, we identify around ten key stakeholders: ex-health ministers, health directors, researchers, patient advocates, public and private representatives, local government officials or local providers, depending on the country. Together with them, and along with the interviews and research, we really get to grips with the biggest challenges, the greatest opportunities and the most pressing challenges to address within the country.

From this process, an Innovation Challenge will arise, which will either be scaling some existing solution or developing a new solution with local actors. But there will always be a connection between this innovation and the bigger picture of what we’re trying to achieve, which is a future defined by sustainable and equitable healthcare with better patient experiences and outcomes.

Why are public-private partnerships (PPPs) so crucial in achieving universal healthcare coverage (UHC)? 

What’s needed is partly to get the knowledge and innovation power of private companies into building and developing health systems. That also requires companies to take on part of the risk. Of course, companies also need to be rewarded—that’s why they are companies. But that's a balance that needs to be struck. 

Most health systems are not entirely public. They are either mixed or have a majority of philanthropic and private health, either because the public health system isn't good enough or because that's the way it was constructed. But in many places, you have huge changes to health systems every time you change governments, which is very destructive and negative. What we are trying to do is work beyond party politics and secure a baseline that we can all agree on and work with. 

Part of that is to get civil society and the commercial side of the health system to be part of long-term developments. Outside of the richest countries, the public sector just doesn't have the capacity or the economic power to make these changes alone. So it's a very simple question. If we want to do this, it needs to be a PPP. And it doesn't matter if it’s public or private, as long as we can guarantee that the service is provided.

Obviously, people worry about the profit motive in health. But it isn’t a public institution that builds MRI or CT scanners. It isn’t a public institution servicing them. When you get a medicine, that’s from the private sector. The hospital bed you lie in is also built by the private sector. Ultimately, it’s about corporate responsibility. And just as we want the public sector and the political sector to be much more responsible, much more forward looking and much more clear on how we do this, we also need to demand the same from companies. 

You've been representing Movement Health 2030 at various conferences recently. What have you been saying at those meetings? 

When I do talks and workshops, I always emphasise two things about Movement Health 2030. The first is how we are trying to work with a huge number of collaborators and partners in the future—nobody can do this alone. The second is how we're trying to work across several areas in order to tackle these challenges. So, for example, getting better at gathering and using data, improving equality of access for patients, utilising innovations and technology, and investing in new biology. These are the things clearly identified by our research on the ground.

Of course, in the last year there’s also been a huge focus on environmental sustainability for health systems, which is something that's going to push us very hard. The conversation right now is about environmental footprints, but soon it will be about the cost of data storage and the cost of treating avoidable diseases. So how do we work on solutions and be prepared for that? That’s what I’ve been talking about.

Then there’s sharing between countries, sharing between regions and trying to find a more global approach to solving some of these issues. Sometimes one thinks, “OK, we'll work out what you want to do by 2030 or 2040 and then we’re done,” but that's not the case with health. This is a never-ending process. We will invent new technology and we will get new insights, but we will also become older on average. So our needs will not diminish.

If we aren’t changing the way we work, we will just use much more energy without getting more impact. This is not a quick fix. There will be many hard things on the way, and when you work with Movement Health 2030, you need to be open-minded.

You can find more information on Movement Health 2030 and how it achieves success on our website. For an example of our real-world impact, watch this video on how we’re supporting mothers and children in Peru through an innovative pilot with Cusco’s health system.

We are also seeking like-minded partners with whom we can find ground-breaking solutions to some of the world’s most significant healthcare challenges. So if your company’s strategic investments align with Movement Health 2030’s mission, we’d love you to join us! You can get in touch here.