Skip to main content


Fitter and faster: better health and growth in emerging economies (WP1699)

Economic productivity and health outcomes are inextricably linked. By preventing ill health, improving health system efficiency and health equity, productivity increases, contributing to economic growth. The growing Non-communicable disease (NCD) burden is a critical barrier in improving health outcomes for governments of low-and middle-income countries. For all regions, except Africa, NCDs are now the leading cause of death and have a clear economic cost because they have an impact on working age people. The SDG progress review of 2018 noted that globally, 32 million people died in 2016 due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory disease[1].

Although all countries have their unique needs and objectives for enhancing their health outcomes, there is room for collaboration and the sharing of knowledge. Common issues, alongside the burden of NCDs, include: a lack of consistency in health care delivery, health system fragmentation (including integration of systems), barriers to and inequality of access, as well as a lack of local capacity. All of which constrain a country’s ability to provide a quality health care service and achieve universal health coverage (UHC). It is estimated that 100 million people are still being pushed into extreme poverty because they have to pay for health care[2]. Achieving UHC for all, including those vulnerable and rural populations is a key challenge for many countries in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals. Supporting countries in addressing the barriers to improving health outcomes, and therefore economic growth, is therefore of pressing need.

This Wilton Park dialogue, in partnership with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, will seek to share best practice, build partnerships and assess approaches for developing health strategies to improve health outcomes in Myanmar, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brazil, Mexico South Africa.



Want to find out more?

Sign up to our newsletter