Health and development

Health and development

The Tappankala resettlement area, Delhi, India

Better health is central to human happiness and well-being. It also makes an important contribution to economic progress, as healthy populations live longer, are more productive, and save more.

Many factors influence health status and a country's ability to provide quality health services for its people. Ministries of health are important actors, but so are other government departments, donor organizations, civil society groups and communities themselves. For example: investments in roads can improve access to health services; inflation targets can constrain health spending; and civil service reform can create opportunities - or limits - to hiring more health workers.

WHO's work on 'Health and development' tries to make sense of these complex links. It is concerned with the impact of better health on development and poverty reduction, and conversely, with the impact of development policies on the achievement of health goals. In particular, it aims to build support across government for higher levels of investment in health, and to ensure that health is prioritized within overall economic and development plans. In this context, 'health and development' work supports health policies that respond to the needs of the poorest groups. WHO also works with donors to ensure that aid for health is adequate, effective and targeted at priority health problems.

This website provides an update on WHO activities in the area of health and development, including recent publications, reports of country work and information on training courses and capacity-building activities.

Recent highlights

Effective aid, better health: Report prepared for the Accra High Level Forum on aid effectiveness, 2-4 September 2008

Full text

This report draws a range of new analyses and case studies carried out in preparation for the Accra High-Level Forum.

"The biggest enemy of health in the developing world is poverty."

Kofi Annan


WHO and the Millennium Development Goals

WHO database on health in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers

News and events



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