How much funding is needed?

There has never been a consistent stream of funding for public health and only a small fraction of health spending is allocated for preventive care, particularly tobacco control and health promotion programmes. In most countries, a large proportion of resources goes to curative acute health care and clinical care research. 

In 2015, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries allocated less than 3% of their health spending on average to public health and prevention activities. Most countries fall within a band of 2 to 4% which has remained fairly stable over the long-term. 

In determining the level of funding required to reorient health services towards health promotion, governments are recommended to invest at least 15% of national expenditure into health promotion and prevention. This would represent a significant leap, given current health promotion expenditure according to OECD data. 


Schang L. K., Czabanowska K. M., Lin V. (2012) Securing funds for health promotion: lessons from health promotion foundations based on experiences from Austria, Australia, Germany, Hungary and Switzerland. Health Promotion International, 27, 295–305. 

Tangcharoensathien, V., Somaini, B., Moodie, R. and Hoskins, D. (2005) Sustainable Financing for Health Promotion: Issues and Challenges. Paper presented at the 6th Global Conference on Health Promotion—Track 2, Core item 5, August 7 – 11, Bangkok, Thailand. 

Gmeinder, M., D. Morgan and M. Mueller (2017), “How much do OECD countries spend on prevention?”, OECD Health Working Papers, No. 101, OECD Publishing, Paris,

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