Investing 5% more GDP into health care could extend lifespans by nine years: FII Institute report

Investing 5% more GDP into health care could extend lifespans by nine years: FII Institute report
Employees work at the Saudi National Health Emergency Operations Center (NHEOC) in the capital Ryadh on May 3, 2020, during the novel coronavirus pandemic crisis. (AFP)
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Updated 21 December 2020

Investing 5% more GDP into health care could extend lifespans by nine years: FII Institute report

Investing 5% more GDP into health care could extend lifespans by nine years: FII Institute report
  • Research found the use of AI and robotics could boost health care investments by 20%

RIYADH: Lives in developing countries could be extended by nine years if 5 percent more GDP is invested in health care systems, according to a new global health care study published by the Future Investment Initiative Institute (FII-I).

The not-for-profit global foundation behind the Kingdom’s annual Future Investment Initiative conference also revealed that integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics into existing health care systems could increase the efficiency of health care investments by up to 20 percent.

FII Institute CEO Richard Attias called the study “dramatic in its findings,” and said that if governments made wise investment decisions they could increase life expectancy and make health services work better for people in every part of the planet.

“This is a time to look forward, to embrace the possibilities that AI and other technologies offer. Our Impact report highlights the need for us to emerge from the pandemic with an imperative to reinvent the way we live, work and care for one another. This is our chance to embrace a Neo-Renaissance,” he said.

The research is part of the institute’s third Impact series report titled “Health Equity: A Moral Imperative,” which has been released ahead of the fourth edition of FII, scheduled for January next year.

“Health Equity: A Moral Imperative” explores the key challenges of health care systems, many of which have been brought to light during the pandemic. Interviews, features and articles form a core call to action — that health is a fundamental human right, and that it is a shared responsibility to ensure global access.

The study also includes a global ranking of health care systems, based on the efficacy of their structures, processes and, most importantly, outcomes. The ranking was based on the Donabedian model, with additional correlation analyzes conducted to identify performance drivers and recommendations.

Contributors to the study came from all over the world, and include names such as Professor Agnes Binagwaho, M.D., Ph.D., Rwanda’s former health minister and vice chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity, Bertalan Mesko, Ph.D., of The Medical Futurist, Rachel Dunscombe, CEO of the NHS Digital Academy, and Walter Willett, M.D., Dr. P.H., professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University.

Mesko stressed the importance of digital health, citing the impact that the report could have on the global health industry.

“I have no doubt that digital health can finally bring health care into the 21st century,” he said.

In discussing the opportunities for Africa to bypass traditional health care solutions with new technology, Binagwaho said: “If we see an opportunity to leapfrog, we go for it. We have done it with our HIV treatment and our vaccination program.”

For the first edition, the FII Institute focused on 35 countries, with representatives from every continent and a variety of development levels. However, they also revealed plans to repeat and expand the study on an annual basis.

The fourth edition of FII-I’s conference, which is hosted by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), will take place on Jan. 27-28, 2021. The theme of next year’s conference is “Neo-Renaissance,” and will focus on the need to collectively embrace this opportunity for reinvention of every aspect of life across our planet to create a new chapter for humanity, rather than returning to the way things were before the pandemic.

More than 6,000 leading CEOs, investors and policymakers from around the world attended FII 2019, which closed with a total of $20 billion in financial deals signed, making it the third-largest business gathering of the year.