Policy Brief: Financing Health for All in The Context of Scarcity
At the Global Health Talk 2023, Healthy DEvelopments and the Global Health Hub Germany launched a policy brief presenting the outcomes of a joint Catalyst Dialogue on “How to increase funding for health for all and spend existing funds more effectively".
Renowned Global Health Financing Experts from Different Stakeholder Groups
Five distinguished representatives from academia, development cooperation, think tanks, the private sector and multilateral institutions participated in the Catalyst Dialogue:
- Dr Christoph Benn, Director for Global Health Diplomacy, Joep Lange Institute
- Prof. Dr Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
- Tom Hart, Research Fellow, ODI
- Lesley-Anne Long, President & CEO, Global Business Coalition for Health
- Dr Riaz Tanoli, CEO, Social Health Protection Initiative, Health Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
Why a Catalyst Dialogue on Global Health Financing?
The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis have revealed the acute underfunding of health systems and institutions at all levels, from community health systems to global resources such as the WHO and the Pandemic Fund. Additionally, the climate-related crises have emphasized the need for more agile, resilient, and equitable health systems. Germany, being a major contributor to the WHO, holds a unique position on the global stage and has the opportunity to advocate for necessary changes in partnership with other governments. In light of this context, the policy brief addresses the following four questions:
- How to help countries increase domestic resources for health?
- How to unlock private investments in health, while ensuring these investments conform to the notion of health as a global public good?
- How to strengthen the effectiveness of the international health financing architecture?
- How best to work with partner countries to strengthen the systems, capacities and voices of health sector stakeholders?
Suggestions on Global Health Financing for German Policymakers and Parliamentarians
The policy brief presents central lines of argument from the Catalyst Dialogue, highlighting policy-relevant positions and complementary perspectives that promise to enrich Germany’s policy dialogue on financing Health for All in the context of scarcity. During the Catalyst Dialogue, several suggestions emerged for German policymakers and parliamentarians. Given its position as a major funder of global health, Germany can serve as ‘honest broker’ by doing the following:
- Consider financing health as investment and not as cost in all its work.
- Help develop taxation systems that generate domestic funds for health, both globally and in partner countries.
- Seek solutions to bottlenecks in implementing debt restructuring agreements and establish and strengthen mechanisms and/or processes for investing a portion of the funds released in Health for All.
- Work with governments, regional and global development partners and the private sector to create more stable conditions for investment by private enterprises in health sector supply chains, from Research & Development, through manufacturing and distribution to delivery, both in partner countries and through regional and global platforms.
- Ensure that private sector investments are aligned with the sustainable development goals and contribute to Health for All.
- Champion ongoing efforts to restructure the global health financing architecture, which co-opt heads of government, in addition to health ministers, to the policy and decision-making space.
- Push for more harmonised processes between different multilateral agencies, for example by agreeing a single business case for health at the country level.
- Support efforts to encourage countries to contribute their ‘fair share’ to financing Health for All as a global public good.
- Strengthen the capacities and voices of key health stakeholders in partner countries that make the case for health in a domestically appropriate way and who hold governments to account.