How do we achieve health for all this World Health Day?

4 min read
March 28, 2023

Next Friday 7th April is World Health Day, a day that marks the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO). This year, the theme is "health for all". How can we achieve this in Aotearoa?

The 2023 theme 'Health For All' is about ensuring that everyone has good health for a fulfilling life in a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) believes that in order to make health for all a reality, we require "individuals and communities who have access to high quality health services so that they can take care of their own health and that of their families; skilled health workers providing quality, people-centred care; and policy-makers committed to investing in universal health coverage."

How is New Zealand tracking?

The WHO notes that the right to health is a basic human right.

We are relatively lucky in New Zealand as a developed country with a public health system. Compared to the rest of the OECD, we're tracking well when it comes to indicators such as smoking levels or life expectancy at birth. 

86% of New Zealanders report they are in good health, much higher than the OECD average of 68% and one of the highest scores across the OECD.

However, OECD data also shows that we're not tracking well on all health indicators, particularly obesity or hospital beds. Our mental wellbeing is also on the decline according to Stats NZ.

When it come to our financial health and wellbeing, the FSC's own research indicates that there is a strong connection between our finances and overall wellbeing. In 2022, more than one in five Kiwis were worrying daily about money according to our Financial Resilience Index.

How is the FSC supporting health for all in New Zealand?

1. Connecting our members on key issues

The FSC and our health members regularly connect and engage on topics of interest regarding the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders. The most recent example was a meeting of Chief Medical Officers from our various health members, to discuss the key health issues facing New Zealanders and the health insurance community.

2. Sharing insights from leading experts

At our annual conference in 2022, Southern Cross Health Society's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Stephen Childs gave a keynote address on 'The Future of Health'.


3. Contributing industry insights 

FSC CEO Richard Klipin recently joined the University of Otago's COVID and Work Symposium to share the industry's approach to this novel condition. This follows on from a session at our conference last year with academic experts who discussed and debated Long COVID's impact:

4. Educating New Zealanders 

Our Money and You platform shares tips and tricks for New Zealanders about how to manage their money, and breaks down complicated concepts in an easy-to-digest format. We've shared commonly asked questions about health insurance, busted myths, and created public-facing guides Health Insurance Makes Sense and Types of Health Insurance.

5. Bringing the community together

Our Health Committee and relevant working groups meet regularly to discuss issues facing the health sector specifically, sharing ideas and learnings, and having input into upcoming events and content that will help grow New Zealanders' health and wellbeing. Achieving health for all is a goal that will only be achieved by working together.

6. Producing data and research insights

The FSC produces quarterly health insurance spotlights that provide a snapshot of the industry over a three-month period, and is now starting to track longer-term trends. Having access to this ongoing data helps us track how New Zealanders are faring when it comes to their health cover, and any progress that has been made.

PC15264 SPOTLIGHT Health DEC 2022

Our Strategic Research Committee also regularly produces thought-leading and insightful research reports that provide a glimpse into the financial confidence and wellbeing of New Zealanders at a broad level, while also drilling down into changing interactions with health insurance. Our latest report to focus on health insurance was Money and You - Taking Cover, released in December 2022.

The report found that while there was an increase in the uptake of health insurance, almost seven in 10 respondents do not have it.

This level of underinsurance would not have rung alarm bells if New Zealanders were better prepared for financial shocks, but other research by the FSC revealed that two in five people would be unable to access $5,000 if something unexpected were to happen.

7. Regularly sharing wellbeing content at our events 

We regularly host webinars and guests at our in-person events to speak to the topics not only of financial wellbeing, but overall health and wellbeing, as it is such an important topic that requires consistent and ongoing attention.

Our view of health is a holistic one that also encompasses mental health. Voices of Hope was our conference charity partner in 2022, and we held a spotlight session with co-founder Genevieve Mora, where she shared her mental health journey and the work they're doing to support the mental health of New Zealanders.


At our recent Future Ready Advice Summits, the team from AIA Vitality shared their tips to improve mental wellbeing to break up the day of panel discussions and get attendees moving and thinking about their wellbeing. 


8. Advocating for New Zealanders every day of the week

The FSC's strategic vision is to grow the financial confidence and wellbeing of New Zealanders, and everything we do has this vision at its core. 

Health, as we see it, is a broad term that our research shows is significantly linked to our finances, with financial worries affecting our physical, mental and overall wellbeing. 

As a result, if we are to shift the dial for New Zealanders, we need to be thinking, talking about and advocating for their health and wellbeing all days of the year - not only on World Health Day.

And that's exactly what we do.