Health financing for universal coverage

Fiscal space, public financial management, and health financing: sustaining progress towards universal health coverage

26-28 APRIL 2016 -- MONTREUX, Switzerland

WHO’s Department of Health Systems Governance and Financing convened representatives from national health and finance ministries and other relevant government bodies, partner agencies, foundations, initiatives and civil society organizations, to discuss priorities and opportunities for enhancing productive engagement between finance and health authorities to enable countries to sustain progress towards universal health coverage (UHC).

This meeting showcased ongoing work as part of the jointly agreed upon collaborative agenda on fiscal space, public financial management and health financing.

Summary of the meeting

Day one: Alignment between public financial management and health financing systems from finance and health perspectives, as well as instruments to facilitate dialog and implement output-oriented reforms.

Day two: Mechanisms to inform progress on sustainability and transition planning, both related to declines in external assistance and to the mobilization, allocation, use and management of domestic resources.

Day three: Explore experience with the use of fiscal space for health analysis to inform health financing policy dialog.

Background to the meeting

More resources for the health sector will not help make progress towards universal health coverage (UHC) if funds cannot be directed to priority populations, programs, and services, and if those funds are not used efficiently to produce service outputs and achieve outcomes. Rather, countries must work to maximize the achievement of objectives within their overall macroeconomic and fiscal realities.

As a result, it is critical to align public financial management (PFM) mechanisms that determine how budgets are formulated, allocated and executed with health financing functions – revenue raising, pooling and purchasing – and overall health system objectives. In doing so, countries can develop and implement their health financing strategies in a manner that aims to ensure that resources are used as equitably and efficiently as possible to sustain progress towards UHC.

To accomplish these aims, it is essential to improve the capacity of the national health authorities to engage more effectively with the national finance/budgetary authorities to advance on critical issues related to both the level of funds to be provided and the flexibility with which such funds can be used, while concurrently ensuring accountability for the use of these funds.


References


Acknowledgment

Funding from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) under the Program for improving countries’ health financing systems to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage and the Ministry of Health and Welfare of the Republic of Korea under the Tripartite program for Strengthening Health Financing Systems for Universal Health Coverage is gratefully acknowledged.