Macroeconomics and Health session at Forum 7 - December 2003
Forum 7, the annual meeting of the Global Forum for Health Research, was held on 2-5 December 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland, and included a session on "Country-level responses to the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health." Chaired by Sir George Alleyne, Emeritus Director of the WHO Regional Office for the Americas/Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the session heard presentations by country representatives on how research carried out as part of a Macroeconomics and Health process can provide evidence for increased health investments and is central to the development of a health investment plan.
Dr Sergio Spinaci, Executive Secretary of the CMH Support Unit, opened the session by outlining the CMH process and highlighting country needs for access to reliable, country-specific data for making allocative and policy decisions. This includes information on the disease burden of the poor, data on cost-effectiveness and the cost of scaling up a pro-poor package of health services. Data on the flow of resources, both external and internal to health, are also needed. In Ghana, a report has been produced, based on local research and evidence, that will be used to advocate among the highest political levels for increased investment in health. A representative from Indonesia noted that under Indonesia’s decentralization reform, epidemiological and economic research is being used to provide evidence for increasing the health budget given competition from other sectors. It is also an important tool for guiding the allocation of health resources.
The Global Forum for Health Research was set up in 1998 to help correct the 10/90 gap in health research (only about 10% of annual spending on health research worldwide is used for research into 90% of global health problems) and focus research on the health problems of the poor. The Forum’s annual meeting brings together decision-makers, policy-makers, and researchers to discuss health problems and priorities.