Health Systems Resilience


The COVID-19 pandemic has led to massive societal consequences across OECD countries and beyond, including millions of deaths, reduction of life expectancy and long lasting health impacts in many countries, and enormous economic disruption. The pandemic has put health systems under extreme stress, they have had to adapt to unexpected and changing circumstances while continuing to provide high quality health care.

The OECD is analysing the effects of the pandemic and the responses adopted by countries to reflect from this experience and provide policy strategies for improving health systems resilience against future shocks.


WHAT is resilience and why is it important?

Health systems resilience is the ability of health systems not only to plan for shocks, such as pandemics, economic crises or the effects of climate change, but also to minimise the negative consequences of such disruptions, recover as quickly as possible, and adapt by learning lessons from the experience to become even better performing and more prepared.

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates all these features. Improved resilience can result in increasing the capacity of health systems and societies to respond more rapidly and more effectively to new challenges. Ensuring a resilient health system is a key policy challenge for the years ahead, which require the sound data and analysis, evidence-based investment decisions, and careful redesign of health systems.

Resilience Webinar_May2022_Speakers

Labour, Employment and Social Affairs Directorate
webinar. Supported by the NAEC initiative

Monday 30 May, 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
(CEST, Paris time, virtual format)



Following the COVID-19 pandemic, countries are looking to build more secure and resilient health systems, to be better prepared for future crises, and mitigate future pandemic related economic costs. However making the best investment decisions, and ensuring finance ministries support, at a time of constrained public expenditure will be very challenging. Closer collaboration between Finance and Health Ministries is needed, including the development of multi-year commitments, to enhance both efficiency and resilience while reducing waste in health systems.

Smart investments in health resilience can protect economies from destabilising shocks, and protect people from premature death. The challenge, which will be a point of discussion during this year’s OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, is to make these necessary investments whilst maintaining the financial sustainability of health systems. This webinar, supported by the NAEC initiative, discussed how to incorporate such resilience thinking within a comprehensive strategy for high-performing, sustainable health systems.

- Mathias Cormann, Secretary-General of the OECD
- Ingvild Kjerkol, Norwegian Minister of Health
- Antonio Bernardini, Special Advisor to the Ministerial Council Meeting and former Italian Ambassador to the OECD
Moderator: Slavea Chankova, The Economist health-care correspondent
- Helen Clark, co-chair of the High Level Independent Panel on Pandemic Preparedness and Response; former Prime Minister of New Zealand; former Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme
- Amanda Glassman, Executive Vice President of the Center for Global Development (CGD) and Chief Executive Officer of CGD Europe; project team lead for the G20 High Level Independent Panel on Financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response
- Richard Horton, editor-in-chief and publisher, The Lancet
- Mario Monti, chair of the Pan European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development; President of Bocconi University; former Prime Minister of Italy; former member of the European Commission in charge of Competition, and of the Internal Market, Financial Services and Tax Policy
Concluding remarks: Stefano Scarpetta, Director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs at the OECD


Note: All-cause mortality data cover up to week 27-2021 for Canada, week 35-2021 for Colombia, and week 47-2021 for Italy and Australia.
Information on data for Israel.



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