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Editorial, Opinion Piece Discuss Challenges, Strategies For Health Financing

The Lancet Global Health: Financing for health: where there’s a will…
Editorial Board

“On Aug 23, WHO quietly released a report that should be essential reading for all. … The analysis is a timely reminder that the issue of domestic health financing is not simply a function of economic development. … [T]he WHO report highlights an all-too-commonplace failure to actually spend the money set aside for health. … These failures seem to come down to a fundamental deficiency in public expenditure management, and are an obvious yet under-recognized target for analysis and reform. … [T]he report drills down into the question of spending prioritization within the health sector itself. Evidence shows that recent increases in health expenditure in Africa have not tended to favor expansion of primary care services nor those most accessible to poorer people. … What are the recommendations, then? Revenue (i.e., tax) collection is a key target for strengthening, and, … tobacco taxation is a prime candidate. … [I]dentification of defined benefits and alignment with appropriate payment mechanisms is another key recommendation of the WHO report, and feeds into the need for better engagement between ministries of health and finance and cultivation of long-term, sustainable sources of health financing…” (October 2016).

Devex: Lessons in bond financing for stronger health systems
Tim Crocker-Buqué, PhD candidate, and Sandra Mounier-Jack, senior lecturer, both at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

“The [International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm)] remains unique in international development. … As a result of IFFIm’s perceived success, bond financing has been proposed as a way of raising funds for a wide variety of issues in international development, including malaria control, noncommunicable diseases, and education. … To evaluate whether bond financing is a suitable mechanism to fund an international development issue, we propose applying the following four criteria: 1. Can the financing be secured elsewhere? … 2. Is the financing for a once-only cost? … 3. Is there a tangible benefit to accessing funds early? … 4. Is there a plan to measure the outcomes of the financing? … It will be too late if we wait until the next crisis is upon us, which is why there needs to be clarity about the role that bond financing can play in development and consideration of establishing an IFFIm-like international institution to be able to access capital in this way at the time it is most needed” (9/12).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.