In a historic initiative aimed at funding and boosting essential, environmental and resilient primary health care services in developing countries, three multilateral development banks have partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to launch the new Health Impact Investment Platform.
The initiative, launched at the recently concluded conference on a New Global Financing Pact in Paris, would provide an initial 1.5 billion euros in concessional loans and grants to developing countries. This initiative is aimed at improving the coverage and quality of primary healthcare services, especially for the most marginalized and neglected populations and communities.
The African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and the World Health Organization (WHO) are the Platform’s inaugural members. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is contemplating joining this partnership in order to expand this initiative to the Latin America and Caribbean region.
WHO will be the Platform’s policy coordinator, ensuring that financing decisions align with national health priorities and strategies. The secretariat will support governments to develop national health and prioritize PHC investment plans, and catalyze wider PHC investments to support government health strategies.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said that primary health care is the most effective way to improve health and well-being by providing essential health services to everyone.
EIB President, Werner Hoyer, said partner banks will support countries to bolster primary health care to improve community health and prevent future health crises.
Before COVID-19, WHO estimated that developing countries needed to significantly increase their health spending by $371 billion annually by 2030 to reach health-related Sustainable Development Goals.
Annual investments of $31.1 billion are needed to prepare for future pandemics by providing access to health services, building new facilities, and training and placing health workers.
One-third of the total funding would need to come from international sources. The Health Impact Investment Platform’s catalytic financing will also help to mobilize and coordinate broader financing flows through national primary health care investment plans.
The African Development Bank Group will work with countries to identify health system gaps, design interventions, secure funding, implement projects, and track their impact, said Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, African Development Bank Group President.