Health system sustainability and resilience

HPP developed two case studies, on lung cancer screening and heart failure, for the Partnership for Health System Sustainability and Resilience’s global summit in March 2021.

Health system sustainability and resilience


Early detection of lung cancer and reduction of hospitalisations in heart failure are crucial elements of improving the effectiveness of healthcare.

In 2013, in the wake of the first UN Global Summit on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), governments around the world committed to reducing premature mortality due to NCDs by one third by 2030. This goal was later integrated into the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development, with Sustainable Development Goal 3.4 focusing on reducing mortality from NCDs.

Reducing the burden of lung cancer and heart failure is essential to achieving this goal. Cancer accounts for 1 in 6 deaths across the world, and for 1 in 3 premature deaths due to NCDs in people aged 30–69. Heart failure, meanwhile, is the most common cause of hospital admission among people over 65 and the most common cause of unplanned admissions for all age groups.

Apart from prevention, early detection presents the greatest opportunity to reduce premature mortality from cancer. It allows clinicians to identify cancer at a point when it has yet to spread through the body and when effective treatment is still possible. Not only does this reduce the risk of death and poor quality of life, it also significantly lowers healthcare costs. When implemented at scale, lung cancer screening programmes offer an opportunity to greatly reduce the burden of lung cancer.

Heart failure tends to receive little strategic attention from governments. There is low awareness of heart failure among decision-makers and the wider public, which appears to translate into low prioritisation in long-term healthcare plans and policies. But it is a major driver of hospitalisations and bed days – and addressing it offers an important opportunity to reduce preventable admissions.

What we’ve achieved

HPP Managing Directors Suzanne Wait and Ed Harding presented the case studies at the Partnership for Health System Sustainability and Resilience (PHSSR)’s virtual global summit on 16 March 2021, as part of a session on improving the effectiveness of care. The summit brought together more than 50 experts to discuss the future of health in a post COVID-19 world.

The PHSSR was initiated by the London School of Economics and Political Science, the World Economic Forum and AstraZeneca. The founding partners are motivated by a shared commitment to improving population health, through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key partners and stakeholders

The lung cancer screening case study is endorsed by the Lung Ambition Alliance and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer. The heart failure case study is produced under the branding of the Heart Failure Policy Network.

Project funding

The case studies were initiated in response to an invitation from the PHSSR. The Health Policy Partnership received no funding for this work.