The WBG’s Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice provides financing, state-of-the-art analysis, and policy advice to help countries expand access to quality, affordable health care. It also prioritizes protecting people from falling into poverty or becoming poorer due to illness; and promoting investments in all sectors that form the foundation of healthy societies.
Universal health coverage: In promoting universal health coverage (UHC), the WBG supports developing countries’ efforts to provide quality, affordable health care to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, reducing financial risks associated with ill health, and increasing equity. The path to UHC is specific to each country. Whatever the path, the WBG aims to help countries build healthier, more equitable societies, as well as to improve fiscal performance and country competitiveness.
In August 2016, the Bank Group and the World Health Organization (WHO), together with the government of Japan, Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the African Development Bank launched UHC in Africa: A Framework for Action, which provides a big-picture view of UHC in the region and identifies key areas that will be critical to achieving better health outcomes, such as financing, service delivery, targeting vulnerable populations, mobilizing critical sectors and political leadership.
The WBG and World Health Organization (WHO) released a first of its kind report—Tracking Universal Health Coverage -- to measure health service coverage and financial protection to assess countries’ progress towards universal health coverage. Following that, the WBG released Going Universal, a study that looks at how 24 developing countries have embarked on the journey to UHC, with a focus on expanding coverage to the poor.
Global Financing Facility: The Global Financing Facility (GFF) is a multi-stakeholder partnership that supports country-led efforts to improve the health of women, children and adolescents by:
- acting as an innovative financing pathfinder to accelerate the efforts to reach the 2030 goals for women, children’s and adolescents’ health;
- financing high impact, evidence- and rights- based interventions to achieve measurable and equitable results;
- building inclusive, resilient systems and increasing domestic financing over time to sustain the gains and ensure that all women, children and adolescents have access to essential health care, contributing to universal health coverage; and
- filling the financing gap by mobilizing additional resources from public and private sources, both domestic and international, and making more efficient use of existing resources.
It is underpinned by International Health Partnership (IHP+) principles and serves to harmonize fragmented RMNCAH approaches, using existing structures and processes.
The GFF supports country leadership by drawing on the comparative advantages of the broad set of stakeholders involved in the RMNCAH response, including the financing of the World Bank Group, Gavi, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and bilateral donors; the technical expertise and normative mandates of UN agencies; the reach and community-connectedness of non-governmental and faith-based organizations; and the capacity and speed of the private sector. The GFF was officially launched by the UN Secretary General and the World Bank President at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in July 2015. GFF is currently working in DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Cameroon, India, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda.
Results-based financing for health: One of the key approaches to implementation is Results-Based Financing (RBF), an innovative approach to expand the quality and reach of health care services in the poorest countries by linking financing to results. RBF focuses on paying for outputs and outcomes—for example, increasing the percentage of women receiving antenatal care or having a trained health worker deliver their baby—rather than for simply inputs or processes.
Pandemics: Pandemics pose a serious threat not only to global health security, but also to economic security and to our ability to end extreme poverty and achieve the SDGs. While outbreaks are inevitable, pandemics, if addressed early, are for the most part preventable. Ebola wiped out many of the recent development gains in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, which were among the fastest growing economies in the world prior to the crisis. The WBG estimated losses on the gross domestic product for the three countries last year were $2.2 billion. The World Bank Group’s response to the Ebola crisis is focused on stopping the spread of infections, improving public health systems throughout West Africa, and assisting governments in achieving universal health coverage.
With the lessons of Ebola in mind, the World Bank Group, the World Health Organization and partners developed the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF). The PEF will be a quick-disbursing financing mechanism that will provide a surge of funds aimed at effective response. It is an innovative financing model, using a combination of public and private funds, to cover low-frequency, high-severity outbreaks. The PEF launched in May at the G7 Ministers of Finance Meeting in Sendai. Japan, which holds the G7 Presidency, committed the first $50 million in funding toward the new initiative. Following receipt of financing commitments by development partners, the PEF is expected to be up and running in early 2017.
Drug resistant infections: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) means that antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs no longer treat infections the way they are supposed to. This phenomenon of drug-resistant infections is on the increase globally and is observed both in humans and animals. New research by the World Bank finds that in a worst-case AMR scenario low income countries could lose over 5 percent of their GDP. AMR is also projected to cause 28 million people, mostly in developing countries to fall into poverty by 2050. Investing in strengthening preparedness for pandemics and other infectious disease outbreaks, and improving public and veterinary health systems overall, are the best way to contain AMR, if it is made an integral part of these systems.
The World Bank Group, together with partners, will focus on developing more AMR-specific interventions like antimicrobial stewardship and reducing overuse, infection prevention and control, and the appropriate use of antibiotics in animal husbandry.
Nutrition: The prevalence of stunting (an indicator of chronic undernutrition) has declined globally. However, 159 million children are stunted in their growth (low height for age), and have limited potential to contribute to their country’s growth. In sub-Saharan Africa, stunting reduction has flat lined, and there are now 12.5 million more stunted children in the region than there were in 1990. The WBG is focused on reducing child undernutrition and stunting worldwide, through innovative partnerships such as the Power of Nutrition. Our investments in nutrition and food security more than tripled between 2011-12 and 2013-14, rising from $260 million to $750 million.
At the global level, the World Bank Group, in partnership with R4D, 1000 Days, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, released an investment framework on the resources needed to reach the global nutrition targets, such as an additional nutrition investment of $2.2 billion/year over 10 years that would save 2.2 million lives and reduce the number of stunted children by 50 million. .
Increasing effectiveness of global health aid is also a key aim. The Bank Group is a proud partner in the International Health Partnership and the H6 and is scaling up civil society engagement in health.
Last Updated: Sep 20, 2016