In an ageing world some of the underlying challenges in delivering healthy societies are, increasingly, the same everywhere. Ageing populations increase demand for health services, but slowing growth and falling productivity make it harder to pay for.
The problem is, of course, more acute in middle-income and low income countries. Finding an innovative way through this dilemma is essential if we are to deliver health services in a socially just way.
So SOIF was excited to get the opportunity–through the WHOs Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO)–to work with the WPRO and the WHO’s country office in Mongolia to develop a Strategic Foresight workshop, with associated training, to help health leaders in the country think about different approaches to health delivery.
Mongolia, unusually, already has a 30-year view of the sort of country it wants to be in 2050. In terms of health provision, the purpose of the workshop–designed for the Mongolia Ministry of Health–was to help participants identify fresh ways to reach its objectives.
The project was delivered during the pandemic, so a hybrid form evolved–part face-to-face meeting in country, led by the local facilitation team, with support and advice available from both the WPRO team and the SOIF team as needed. In the training sessions, similarly, the in-country facilitators helped guide colleagues through the processes. The translators–and the translation function on Zoom–were critical. This two minute video, by WHO, also seen below, provides a flavour of the whole thing.
For the WHO, it was a pilot project to test whether strategic foresight approaches worked at a country level to encourage more innovative approaches. It also was the first time that the Mongolian Ministry of Health had used strategic foresight to think about the futures of the sector in the country. The early feedback is that it did indeed open up new ways of thinking that will now be explored further by Mongolian project teams.