Health is an intrinsic human right as well as a central input to poverty reduction and socioeconomic development. Cost-effective interventions for controlling major diseases exist, but a serious lack of money for health and a range of system constraints hamper global and national efforts to expand health services to the poor. The high burden of preventable diseases in poor countries and communities calls for strategic planning of investments across health and health-related sectors to improve the lives of poor people and promote development.
Responding to this urgent need, a macroeconomics and health process helps place health at the centre of the broader development agenda in countries. It engages Ministries of Finance, Planning and Health to act in tandem with development agencies, civil society, philanthropic organizations, academia, and the private sector. Together, they can take forward a shared agenda for addressing financial and systemic constraints to the equitable and timely delivery of quality health and social services. This work will contribute toward achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, global objectives such as “3 by 5″, and national health targets.
Countries are driving the macroeconomics and health process, which takes into account countries’ unique health and macroeconomic variables. WHO, working closely with governments and their partners, advocates for a more prominent role for health within countries’ macroeconomic agendas. It also offers technical expertise to support country efforts for developing long-term multisectoral investment plans. The work is carried out in line with three themes:
- Achieving better health for the poor
- Increasing investments in health
- Progressively eliminating non-financial constraints.
In support of ongoing country macroeconomics and health activities, the Second Consultation on Macroeconomics and Health, “Increasing Investments in Health Outcomes for the Poor” took place from 28-30 October 2003 at WHO Headquarters in Geneva. Ministers of Health, Finance and Planning from forty low- and middle-income countries came together with development partners to discuss issues related to improving the effectiveness of health delivery systems and increasing domestic and external resources to health. Following the Consultation, participants endorsed a Declaration incorporating major outcomes from Consultation and working group discussions.