Transforming health in Asia-Pacific
Countries across the Western Pacific region are facing significant and growing health challenges. The World Health Organisation Western Pacific Regional Office was looking to develop their use of futures. They wanted to develop their ability to use foresight to set an agenda and improve health outcomes across the region. A particular focus was on how to embed foresight into their Health Strategic Dialogues, which were looking to transform how governments were imagining the health sector, initially with the Mongolian government.
They wanted to help countries to set a clear and ambitious long-term vision for the whole health system. They also wanted to build a coalition of support for the actions required today.
SOIF provided advisory and coaching support to the Strategic Dialogue team to help integrate foresight into their programming. This helped them to set out an ambitious vision for the strategic dialogues in the region.
We helped them to set out a clear narrative and ambition for their work, while supporting them to experiment and build their own knowledge and skills. This included engaging with youth and experimenting with micro narrative approaches, and developing a framework and tools for designing and running future projects with teams at Country and regional level.
This approach proved to be invaluable for the regional office and for public health early on in the programme. When the Covid 19 pandemic struck, we worked with the WHO team to convene six futures think tanks, which brought public health and multidisciplinary experts together to understand future scenarios and longer-term systemic impacts on health systems, outcomes and status.
To meet the needs of the Dialogue, SOIF designed a structured programme of work to support government, civil society and industry to imagine new possibilities for the health sector. Through a multi-phase programme, we helped participants build their futures skills, awareness and confidence in thinking about the future.
We supported regional and country teams through a scanning, scenarios, visioning and backcasting process to develop a Change Agenda that reimagined what health in Mongolia could look like in 2050.
The programme of support built their capability, skills and knowledge of the Strategic Dialogue Team, which is now supporting others across the region, using the frameworks and tools we provided.
The COVID-19 work helped the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office to respond quickly to the emerging Covid 19 situation, and surfaced 10 key strategic priorities for the longer-term recovery of health systems that formed part of the Regional Director’s agenda.
The strategic dialogue enabled the country team and Ministry of Health to adopt foresight approaches and convene stakeholders that weren’t previously aligned, changing attitudes and building cross government support. Overall the programme helped set an ambitious agenda for health systems transformation in the region, outlined here.