On 19 March 2024, the Sustainable Health Care in Hungary Forum was held for the first time, organised by the Business Council for Sustainable Development in Hungary, the Embassy of Switzerland, SwissCham and Roche Hungary.

“Two years ago, the United Nations adopted a historic resolution recognising a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a universal human right. This requires health systems globally and locally that are able to respond to the challenges immediately”, reminded the audience in his opening speech Csaba Kőrösi, former UN President.

The fundamental aim of the conference was to highlight that health and the life sciences sector are essential for the sustainable development of society. A healthy population is also a more productive one, so improving health can contribute to a nation’s overall well-being and prosperity. The life sciences sector also has significant added value for the national economy, providing jobs, stimulating innovation and attracting further investment.

In his opening speech, Jean-Francois Paroz, Ambassador of Switzerland to Hungary, said: ‘Events like this are important harbingers of successful forward-looking collaborations between government, academia and industry. This is the key to effective progress in health, he emphasized.

The National Strategy for Sustainable Development identifies four dimensions, environment, economy, social capital and human resources, with health as a priority. Gábor Bartus, Secretary of the National Sustainable Development Council, started the roundtable discussion by laying the foundations. The dimensions do not work independently, but rely on each other and develop together to become effective and contribute to sustainability. Sectoral and industrial cooperation is an indispensable part of this, highlighted Dr. Ádám Nagy, Deputy State Secretary for Industry. The health strategy follows this holistic approach, which has been prepared in consultation with more than 1,000 industry stakeholders.

The idea was complemented by Dorina Pető, co-founder of the Center for Future Health Development student organization, who emphasized the involvement of NGOs in public and professional cooperation. “We are working with the State Secretariat for Health on communication that is easy to understand and appeals to young people. We have jointly recognised that an NGO can be more flexible in responding to the needs of society, while public bodies can encourage systemic implementation,” he added.

“The health sector needs to be flexible, responsive and responsive. To do this, it is essential that good quality data is available to support data-driven decision making. To do this, a well-functioning platform is essential to easily collect and analyse the data that will inform health strategy. EESZT, which is almost unique in Europe, is a very good basis”, said Dr Judit Bidló, Deputy State Secretary for Professional Governance in Health, in the roundtable discussion.

Jörg-Michael Rupp, European President of Roche, a biotechnology company, said in his key note presentation “The right use of data is the key to the future, as healthcare must meet the needs of today and respond to the challenges of tomorrow. We already have data management solutions and technologies that can help us to better identify where and how decision-makers need to intervene, and to use this data to deliver faster, more efficient and personalised care, both at the level of the individual patient and the whole care system. From a sustainability perspective, it is also important to emphasise that spending on healthcare should be seen as a long-term investment, as its development and the introduction of new innovative technologies and therapies contribute to improving the health of the population and to a more efficient use of capacity.”

The participants agreed that the continuation of the cooperation that has already begun is the key to achieving the strategic objectives.