A month after world leaders met at the UN General Assembly to recommit to financing for universal health coverage, the global health community gathers in Berlin for the World Health Summit. Under the patronage of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, this year’s summit will focus on universal health coverage and human capital in Africa, the role of the G7 and G20 in global health and how the Global Action Plan can be implemented.
The Global Action Plan—launched in September at the UN General Assembly—outlines how 12 multilateral health, development and humanitarian agencies will collaborate to support countries to deliver universal health coverage and achieve the health-related SDG targets. The agencies represent approximately one-third of all development assistance to health and have committed to align operational and financing efforts, engage better with countries, and accelerate progress on key issues, including primary health care and sustainable health financing.
Accelerating progress is key
We know we need to accelerate progress rapidly in order to achieve the SDG health targets by 2030. Equitable access to affordable quality healthcare is far from reach for billions of people around the world, driving 100 million people into poverty every single year. The World Bank estimates low- and lower-middle-income countries will need to invest approximately US$176 billion more a year by 2030 to make essential quality services accessible for their populations.
In many of these countries, total per capita spending on health is low—averaging US$40 in low-income countries and many are reliant on out-of-pocket expenditures causing financial hardship and impoverishment. Closing the financing gap through high performing health financing systems is key to ensuring an essential package of quality services for all.
Health services coverage needs to grow twice as fast
According to WHO data, up to 5 billion people will lack access to essential health services by 2030 unless health service coverage grows twice as fast.
The World Bank and the Global Financing Facility (GFF) are working together with Global Action Plan partners to support countries taking the lead to increase domestic and external financing for health and human capital investments.
We hear from finance ministers that they are increasingly ready to look at health expenditure as an investment and not just as expense. But they also ask health ministers to deliver more value for the funds spent by ensuring efficiency, equity and quality. Together with partners we support governments to prioritize existing funding, target the most vulnerable populations and regions, and build strong, resilient primary health care systems on their pathway to achieving universal coverage.
Looking at Nigeria
by Dominic Chavez
For example, in Nigeria, where public spending on health is amongst the lowest in the world, the World Bank and GFF provided funding for a pilot in three states to demonstrate how a Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) could be implemented to effectively improve coverage. This pilot convinced Nigerian decision makers to allocate substantial domestic resources to the BHCPF, which was mandated by the National Health Act of 2014 to provide an additional source of financing so that all Nigerians may access a basic minimum package of health services.
At this year’s World Health Summit, we look forward to showcasing together with our Global Action Plan partners, governments, civil society and private sector partners how stronger collaboration is indeed leading to better health – for all.