December 19, 2013
London, England - The Lancet Commission on Investing in Health's Global Health 2035: A World Converging within a Generation report was launched globally on December 3, 2013. At events in London, Johannesburg and Tunis, Commissioners and other leading global health and economic experts presented and discussed key findings—reexamining the case for investing in health and calling for increased international collective action.
The Lancet hosted the London launch event at the Royal College of Physicians. Commissioner Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet, opened the day by introducing the Commission to more than 125 attendees from the health sector, pharmaceutical companies, civil society organizations and academia. Lawrence H. Summers, former US Treasury Secretary and the Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus of Harvard University, provided an overview of the dramatic progress that has been made in global health and the significant work that remains. He then presented the main findings from Global Health 2035 as a roadmap to achieving dramatic gains in global health through a grand convergence around infectious, child and maternal mortality; major reductions in the incidence and consequences of non-communicable diseases and injuries; and the promise of "pro-poor" universal health coverage.
Outlining a new investment framework, Commissioners Dean Jamison (University of Washington); Sanjeev Gupta (International Monetary Fund); David Evans (World Health Organization); and Gavin Yamey (University of California, San Francisco) presented on each of the key findings in detail. Topics discussed included the payoffs from improvements in health, closing the gap in health disparities, fiscal policies as a tool for curbing non-communicable diseases and injuries, and progressive pathways to universal health coverage. Each presentation was followed by a panel of leading economic and global health experts who reacted and raised questions.
Commissioner Linah Mohohlo, Governor of the Central Bank of Botswana, gave the afternoon's keynote address, offering a sub-Saharan Africa policy perspective of the findings. The final panel, chaired by Lawrence H. Summers, discussed the essential role of international collective action to meet the goals outlined in Global Health 2035. Lawrence H. Summers directed questions to Commissioners Gargee Ghosh (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) and Seth Berkley (GAVI Alliance) and discussants Roy Anderson (Imperial College London) and Julia Watson (DFID) about the type of future commitments needed from the international community to achieve the messages outlined in the report.
The South African launch was held at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg and was well attended by a number of stakeholders and media. The event was chaired by Commissioner Mthuli Ncube (African Development Bank), who gave a detailed presentation on Global Health 2035, along with Mark Blecher (National Treasury South Africa) who offered his reaction. An audience question and answer period followed the presentations.
50 participants joined the event in Tunis. Commissioner Agnes Soucat (African Development Bank) introduced the report, highlighting the opportunity that the international community has to achieve a grand convergence in health. An expert panel discussion with representatives from the World Bank and WHO followed the presentation to debate on the topic. The panelists stressed the importance of the report to demonstrate how global health inequality could be eliminated and believed that expenditure on public health should be bigger in order to boost economic growth, especially in the region.
The launch of the report generated substantial media coverage, both globally and in Johannesburg and Tunis, and its findings have been very well received by stakeholders in the global economic and health communities. The launch marks the beginning of advocacy efforts to encourage national and global change by incorporating the findings into the post-2015 discussions and influencing the Sustainable Development Goals.