In line with its global strategy for health, nutrition, and population, the World Bank Group provides financing, state-of-the-art analysis, and policy advice to help countries expand access to quality, affordable health care; protects people from falling into poverty or worsening poverty due to illness; and promotes investments in all sectors that form the foundation of healthy societies.
The path to UHC is specific to each country. Whatever the path, the Bank Group’s aim is to help countries build healthier, more equitable societies, as well as to improve their fiscal performance and country competitiveness—toward the goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity. On December 6, 2013, Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim announced that the Bank Group and the World Health Organization (WHO) would release a joint framework for monitoring progress toward UHC with two targets:
- For financial protection, by 2020, the Bank Group and WHO propose to reduce by half the number of people who are impoverished due to out-of-pocket health care expenses. By 2030, no one should fall into poverty because of out-of-pocket health care expenses. Achieving this target will require moving from 100 million people impoverished every year at present, to 50 million by 2020, and then to zero by 2030.
- For service delivery, the Bank Group and WHO propose to double the proportion of poor people in developing countries who have access to basic health services, such as vaccination for children or having a skilled attendant available at childbirth, from 40% today to 80 % by 2030. In addition, by 2030, 80% of the poor will have access to other essential health services such as treatment for high blood pressure, diabetes, mental health, and injuries.
One of the key approaches to implement the Bank Group’s health strategy is results-based financing (RBF), an innovative strategy 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. In September 2013, President Kim announced that the Bank Group would invest $700 million by 2015 to improve women and children’s health. The funding is enabling scale-up of successful reproductive, maternal, and child health projects, which also include malaria, tuberculosis (TB), and other disease-prevention activities.
Reflecting the Bank Group’s commitment to the MDGs, three areas of special focus are expanding access to family planning and reproductive health, preventing HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases, and scaling up support for early childhood nutrition. In June 2013, the Bank Group projected that it would nearly triple direct financing for maternal and early childhood nutrition programs in 2013-14 to $600 million, up from $230 million in 2011-12.
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 H4+ and is scaling up civil society engagement in health.
Last Updated: Jan 29, 2014