The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the weaknesses of our health systems, combined with the need to invest in building their resilience and readiness. The readiness of health systems refers to their level of preparedness to respond to specific health emergencies. It involves various components, including infrastructure, human resources, medical supplies and equipment, financial resources, communication systems, and governance structures. Readiness involves reactive measures to address specific threats.

Resilience, on the other side, refers to the ability of a health system to absorb and adapt to shocks, stresses, and disruptions, such as natural disasters, pandemics, or economic crises, without compromising its core functions and performance. Resilience involves proactive measures to build and sustain capacities, such as robust surveillance and early warning systems, flexible financing mechanisms, strong supply chains, skilled and motivated health workforce, and community engagement. Both readiness and resilience are critical for ensuring the sustainability and effectiveness of health systems in promoting and protecting the health of populations.  

A sustainable health system is able to meet the current and future healthcare needs of the population without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own healthcare needs. It involves balancing the three dimensions of sustainability: economic, social, and environmental. Sustainable health systems generate and allocate resources efficiently and effectively to deliver high-quality health services that are affordable and accessible for payers. Sustainable health systems also recognise that the health of the population is intrinsically linked with the health of the environment surrounding us. Environmental sustainability therefore implies reducing the negative impact of health services on the environment while promoting the use of sustainable practices.

Health managers can play an important role in working towards more environmentally friendly healthcare by collaborating with other sectors to promote greener policies, ensuring the implementation of health in all policies, and encouraging the adoption of environmental-friendly measures that will ultimately lead to health benefits for the population. They can adopt best practices to establish the sustainability of processes such as procurement, logistic organisation, stock management and waste management.

Sustainable and resilient health systems is one of five topics identified as a current healthcare trends and will shape the EHMA 2023 programme. Tracks and topics have been selected in consultation with our Board of Directors, our Scientific Advisory Committee, and our membership.

Join us and exchange knowledge and best practices to identify strategies, processes, and solutions health managers can implement to ensure the sustainability and resilience of health systems.  Register now to benefit from the early bird fee here.