Partnerships for Health and Development
The links between health, nutrition, and poverty are well known. Poor
and malnourished people are more likely to contract and develop communicable
diseases, and are at higher risk of dying from resulting illness than
are wealthier, healthier individuals. Communicable diseases also contribute
to poverty. People who become ill are more likely to fall into poverty
and to remain there than are healthier individuals.
Today the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis are worsening,
particularly in many developing countries that are witnessing a rapid
erosion of the social and economic gains of the past three decades.
Childhood infectious diseases remain the top killers worldwide and there
has been little progress in reducing maternal mortality in poor communities.
To stem these epidemics, we need to act collectively, and with greater
urgency than ever before, to reach and involve the poor in building
effective responses within and outside the health sector.
The success stories described in these pages demonstrate how far many
nations have come in defining viable strategies to attack these public
health threats and in scaling up to achieve a national impact. The stories
illustrate many lessons. They demonstrate that success is possible even
in resource-poor settings. They show that inputs such as drugs or vaccines,
as important as they are to improving health, are not enough. Political
commitment, capacity-building, human resources, education and communication,
local adaptation, and community involvement are critical.
They also signal that strengthening and increased financing of health
systems and social services in general can make possible a large-scale
and more sustainable response.
The World Bank, working with governments, donors, NGOs, and the private
sector is supporting countries to expand and scale up such successes.
We engage in policy dialogue, and we employ traditional and new financial
instruments and implementation models to assist governments to rapidly
implement their disease control programmes and to further develop their
health systems. We value a strong partnership to pursue public health
and development objectives together and look forward to the progress
that lies ahead.
James D. Wolfensohn