Wiesbaden, Germany (ots) - Ministers of Health, Finance and
Planning from 40 developing countries will come together with
development partners at WHO headquarters from 29 to 30 October to
address the need to significantly increase investments in health.
This is the first time that the World Health Organization (WHO) has
hosted a meeting so widely attended by non-health officials,
underlining the urgency of building national capacity to absorb
increased health funding.
"This meeting signifies real political commitment from the highest
levels of government and donor representatives. Let us capitalize on
this unique opportunity to recognize health as a critical investment
and together develop a common understanding of how countries and
their partners can transform these commitments into immediate
actions. We must choose to make equitable and efficient health
investments a reality," said WHO Director-General Dr LEE Jong-wook.
This meeting comes nearly two years after the launch of the 2001
Report of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (CMH), which
recommends that by 2007, donors should increase assistance for health
from the current levels of about US-Dollar 6 billion per year to
US-Dollar 27 billion. The Commission also calls for more budgetary
resources for public health from both developed and developing
countries, and more political and organizational effort than has been
seen in the past decades to achieve real improvements in health.
Two years on, the world still has not shown determination to
increase investment in health to the levels needed to measurably
impact major diseases that affect the world's poor. A recent study(1)
has shown that the total development assistance for health from major
selected sources increased by US-Dollar 1.6 billion, from an average
of US-Dollar 6.1 billion (1997-1999) to US-Dollar 7.7 billion (2001).
Most of the increase in funding was allocated to fighting HIV/AIDS in
sub-Saharan Africa. Although these recent increases in assistance for
health are encouraging, they still fall short of meeting real needs.
"On taking office, I declared the target of "3 by 5" - to have 3
million people with AIDS in developing countries on treatment with
antiretrovirals by the end of 2005. Only 300 000 are on treatment at
the moment. To achieve "3 by 5" and other health priorities we need
considerably more funds than those currently available. If we don't
increase resources for health and target these resources to
activities that will have the greatest impact, we stand to lose
millions of men, women and children to disease. This also means
trapping individuals and families in poverty and disillusionment,"
said Dr Lee.
During the meeting, the combined work of countries, WHO and
partners will be to develop concrete plans for increased health
investment in countries. Continued global leadership and follow-up
from the development community, combined with inter-ministerial
collaboration is needed: first, to increase resources for health from
domestic resources, debt relief and development assistance for
health, and second to eliminate health system and institutional
constraints, enabling greater absorption of increased resources. This
will be critical for pursuing country action to reach the "3 by 5"
and other health targets.
"We need country-specific blueprints for making real increases in
health investment. Developing countries and their partners need to
collectively and quickly do much more, for health and global
stability. This meeting can identify ways to make this happen," added
National Macroeconomics and Health activities are ongoing in the
countries participating in the Consultation: From Africa: Angola,
Botswana, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria,
Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania.
From the Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and the
Caribbean Community including Haiti. From the Eastern Mediterranean:
Djibouti, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Jordan, Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen.
From Europe: Azerbaijan and Estonia. From South East Asia:
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and
Thailand. From the Western Pacific: Cambodia, China, Philippines and
(1) Development Assistance for Health (DAH): Recent Trends and
Resource Allocation; Dr. Catherine Michaud, Senior Research
Associate, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies
ots Originaltext: World Health Organization
Macroeconomics and Health
Sustainable Development and
Healthy Environments, WHO