As it stands, the majority of health expenditure is dedicated to treatment. For example, across Europe, the average proportion of health expenditure that is spent on prevention is just 2.8%.
However, the vast majority of health benefits – around 70% – come from prevention and health promotion efforts: reducing the underlying environmental, social and behavioural risks that contribute to health and increasing access to quality preventive care.
The remaining 30% constitutes therapeutic interventions such as surgery, medicines and medical devices – i.e., treatment. The 50/50 aspiration refers to the aim of some health systems and governments to spend as much on prevention as on treatment, in order to reap the longer term benefits that come from a focus on prevention.
The origins of the 50/50 aspiration
In February 2019, CIFS gathered thirty Nordic health actors to partake in the Nordic Health 2030 process, a series of workshops looking at how to shape the future of health in the Nordics.
There was consensus among public and private stakeholders alike that a sustainable approach to healthcare was needed along with a re-focus on preventive health, and thus the 5/5 aspiration took shape.
On average, the Nordic countries spend around 9.8% of their GDP on health, and just 0.2% on prevention. The 5/5 aspiration promotes a re-allocation of resources such that 5% of GDP is spent on sick care and 5% on preventive health by 2030.