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Back to Programme '23

Embassy of Health

How can we put health first in our society by utilising the power of design?

Eendagszaak - Cascoland — © Sander van Wettum

Can we see our health as a value in itself? How can we save health, let it flow, exchange and share it with each other? How can design and imagination contribute to a (re)valuation of health as our greatest good?

Health as an interaction

Healthcare costs, insurance premiums, risk calculations. We are used to thinking about our health and care in a very economical way. In terms of money, payments, hard cash, currency also known as valuta. The word valuta can be traced back to the Latin ‘valēre’. That meant something like ‘being healthy or strong’. With that meaning in mind, the Embassy of Health: can we see our health as a value in itself?

We agree: health is difficult to quantify in monetary terms. It goes beyond simple transactions, and it stands or falls with connections. With the relationships between people and their environment, both physical and social. Health has a social foundation: from the safety net of people you can turn to for company or a helping hand, to the guarantee of clean air, regardless of where your house is located.

Health first

We endorse the importance of preventive health. Prevention is better than cure, but we only get started with our health once health problems occur. Will we get there with an apple and 10,000 steps a day in an environment full of temptations, pollution, loneliness and stress? Health inequalities are increasing due to pressure on social security, and health increasingly depends on where you live and what you have to spend. Is it possible to put health first in this fast-paced, modern world? To train our long-term thinking and make investments today for the future? To share in the health benefits now and in the future?

Health as a flow and as a new currency

Care is purchased, insured, performed, documented and invoiced. In the meantime, more and more healthcare providers succumb to the towering administrative pressure and the lack of human touch. The entire healthcare system is coming to a standstill due to our ageing population, backlogs and staff shortages. How do we get that system moving again and let health flow? How can we place people back at the centre and make care move flexibly with their needs? How do we care for healthcare professionals? And what is needed to enable them to fulfil their calling which is to provide attentive care.

In the Embassy of Health, we create space to do things differently. We bring together designers, healthcare providers, citizens, local community organisations, hospitals, welfare authorities, data scientists and policymakers and work with new approaches towards health. We can question the system by adopting a design attitude, visualising promising concepts, and testing alternative routes. This way, we can collectively learn and build on the revaluation of health together. A revaluation that revolves around healthy incentives, where health comes first and is accessible to society as a whole.

About World Design Embassies

World Design Embassies deploys the power of design in the development of new perspectives and concrete directions to societal challenges. In open coalitions, we work with partners and designers on the future.
Strijp-S area, Foundation We Are, Torenallee 22-04 , Map No. C13
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