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World Bank calls for tailored financing for healthcare

Healthcare needs tailored financing, knowledge and partnerships, says World Bank President Ajay Banga. He said, during and after COVID, financing for healthcare has increased but to make healthcare affordable and bring it to the reach of all, it needs knowledge and partnerships along with financing.

“I think it takes a lot of hard work, a lot of knowledge, a lot of financing, and a lot of partnerships. Financing is the obvious one. We are talking about putting to work 50 percent more money per year that what we used to spend in healthcare pre-the pandemic. This financing has to be catered for the country and its stage of development,” Banga said.

At a Fireside Chat with the Director-General of the World Health Organization Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu, Banga added

“In the same vein, the knowledge has to be catered for the country and its stage of development. We can bring that knowledge as a partner not just our financing, not just our ability to advise governments on regulatory policy but our ability to help even WHO understand the intersections between these different causes of healthcare problems in the intertwined challenges we are going through,”

Citing an example, Banga said if a child in its first 1,000 days does not get the right kind of nutrition, it that could have an impact, economically, forever for that child. He added that those deprived children would, in their lifetime, end up earning less.

“Healthcare is foundational and at the end of the day if you look at people struggling with either the cost of healthcare or the inability to access healthcare that leads to the worst possible outcome.”

“Two billion people in this world do not have access to healthcare in a way that they get insurance or free treatment and end up paying for it out of their pocket. That puts them in a cycle of poverty for a long time to come,” Banga said.

So, he suggested that fundamental requirements for human existence in the form of healthcare and making it available at a price that’s affordable are critical.

Taking the discussion forward, and speaking about where does world stand in terms of Universal Health Coverage, WHO’s Tedros said that as many as 140 countries have recognised health as fundamental rights in their constitutions.

“Recognising health as fundamental human right, is a political choice but that can help us to do the rest – financing and else,” Tedros added.

He also apprised that since the formation of WHO, average human life expectancy has gone up from 46 years to 74 years.

That said, he noted that the world is off track as far as SDG goals are concerned.

“I don’t think without a serious catch up we may even reach the SDGs. So we have to work harder and that’s why we are partnering with the World Bank and other partners,” Tedros said. Challenges according to him in order to meet Universal Health Coverage are two-fold — service coverage and financing.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has announced an ambitious plan to support countries in delivering quality, affordable health services to 1.5 billion people by 2030.

The strategy to reach 1.5 billion people is focused on three core elements: Expanding focus from maternal and child health to include coverage throughout a person’s lifetime, including non-communicable diseases.

The other two are expanding operations to hard-to-reach areas, including remote villages, cities, and countries; and working with governments to cut unnecessary fees and other financial barriers to health care.

“Providing a basic standard of care for people throughout their lives is critical for development,” said Ajay Banga, World Bank President.

“This ambition won’t be realized with a solo effort. It will require partners, a coalition of public and private sector, working together to expand access to health care services,” Banga said.

Today, around 2 billion people face severe financial hardship when paying for health services.

Intertwined challenges, such as climate change, pandemics, conflicts, societal aging, and a projected shortfall of 10 million health-care workers by 2030, exacerbate the cycle of poverty and inequality, World Bank said.

The World Bank said it will combine financing, knowledge, and partnerships to address this challenge.

The goal to deliver quality, affordable health services to 1.5 billion people by 2030 is World Bank’s commitment. ANI

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