Directing Investments Toward Those In Greatest Need Vital To Ensuring Health For All Children

Devex: Opinion: Public funds need to better align with child health inequalities
Claire Leigh, director of international development at Save the Children U.K.

“…To go the next mile on child survival, development and government leaders will have to grapple with two big challenges: inequality and the role of public finance in addressing this. … In order to achieve the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)], countries must achieve convergence between the groups furthest behind and the rest. In other words, the inherent logic of the SDGs is that the furthest behind must move fastest. And it is this that is failing to happen, putting the goals at risk of ultimate failure. … This is a failure of leadership, prioritization, but also — crucially — funding. Where leaders choose to direct public funds is a key driver of inequality. … Without purposeful efforts to increase and direct scarce health resources toward the children and regions in the greatest need, and toward the types of primary health care services that most benefit the poor, countries will not see the convergence in health outcomes that must underpin overall SDG progress. … [T]he primary duty of ensuring every child’s right to adequate health and nutrition rests with their government, and in the provision of universal, well-designed, and appropriately funded services. It’s time for equity to be placed at the heart of health budgeting so that the commitment to leave no one behind becomes more than a noble intention” (5/20).