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Five innovations in international health

23 October 2007, 09:32

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This piece is an attachment to: Global Campaign for the Health MDGs

Five programmes closely linked to the principles of the Global Campaign for the Health MDGs are already underway or shortly to be launched:

The International Health Partnership (IHP)

The IHP global compact, signed in London on 5 September 2007 by leaders, donors, agencies and countries, aims to support governments to achieve health results by helping aid agencies work together more effectively, reducing wasteful duplication and ensuring that the money achieves more. The IHP represents a commitment to a new and better way of working, co-ordinating work to support countries’ national health plans.

Network of global leaders

Political commitment is needed at the highest level. Only this will make it a government priority to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of all women and children, pushing through the necessary changes, and allocating resources appropriately. Heads of state and government from a number of countries have joined in a “Network of Global Leaders” to provide the necessary leadership and momentum.

Currently, these countries include Norway, Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Tanzania and the UK. In order to keep up the momentum they will be regularly briefed on progress relating to Women and Children’s health. The briefs will be informed by independent reviews. To keep momentum both in the North and the South a dedicated advocacy and communications drive is being developed: “Deliver Now for Women & Children”. Coordinated by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health – a global network of more than 180 organizations.

Innovative health system strengthening

Canada in partnership with Norway, UNICEF, WHO, the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and USA are working together to develop an innovative approach – to be launched shortly – to strengthen health systems in order to achieve sustainable results, and ensure women and children receive essential health services. Critical to this approach are both capacity building and support to the health system to tackle weaknesses in health services (such as shortages of skilled workers, medicines or other resources) at the front line.

Results-based financing

The objective of Innovative Results-based Financing is to test out and evaluate new ways of financing to better achieve health goals. The aim is to get the greatest value for money spent. By linking funding to measurable results, governments and communities have increased motivation and capacity to achieve results – or fix whatever problems are impeding them. In results-based financing, pioneered by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), money depends on real improvements for the health of poor people.

A number of countries have expressed interest developing this approach, including Norway (the lead promoter), Canada and the UK, as well as global funds: GFATM, GAVI, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The World Bank will coordinate this work. This innovative financing approach may be linked to the Bank’s core development financing through IDA. Norway is exploring interest among partner countries in participating in a first wave, testing and developing these approaches.

Providing for Health Initiative

Promoted by Germany and France this initiative has been supported by the G8 under the German Presidency. Its main objective is to improve sustainable and equitable financing structures of health systems to enhance access to health services of adequate quality in developing countries and to protect people from the adverse financial consequences of high out-of-pocket payment.

Overall, if health care systems in poor countries are not reinforced, notably through establishing social health protection systems, all of efforts to fight contagious and non-contagious diseases in these countries may prove to be in vain.

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