Macroeconomics and Health (CMH)

MacroHealth Newsletter


COUNTRY ACTION

This issue will focus on recent Macroeconomics and Health activities in the South-East Asian and the West Pacific Regions, bearing in mind that all Regions are actively pursuing a Macroeconomics and H

WHO'S SOUTH-EAST ASIAN OFFICE PUSHES MACROECONOMICS AND HEALTH CONCEPTS

The WHO Regional Office in South-East Asia has been actively promoting the CMH concepts within the region. The CMH Report has been discussed by the Health Secretaries (April 2002) and the Health Ministers (September 2002). The Regional Conference of Parliamentarians (December 2002) was entirely on the Report of the CMH. These high-level meetings have broadly endorsed the recommendations of the CMH and urged countries to establish National Commissions on Macroeconomics and Health (NCMH), or equivalent, mobilize larger resources, both domestic and external, and strengthen health systems appropriately for ensuring efficient and equitable use of resources. The Regional Office has urged countries to organize inter-ministerial national seminars/workshops involving NGOs, media, academia, development partners and others for disseminating the key messages of the CMH Report. CMH follow-up action will be discussed during WHO's 52nd meeting of the Regional Director with WHO Representatives, March 31-April 4, 2003.

BHUTAN AND NEPAL EXPRESS INTEREST IN CMH CONCEPTS

Bhutan plans to entrust the CMH work to its Planning Commission that will examine local macroeconomics and health issues. Nepal is interested in setting up suitable mechanisms to channel debates on the CMH recommendations as applied to the local situation. A sub-commission on Macroeconomics and Health has been proposed under the existing Commission on Sustainable Development.

INDONESIA PURSUES CMH WORK

THE INDIAN CMH PUSHES AHEAD WITH A MACROECONOMICS AND HEALTH APPROACH

India is poised for further economic growth in the coming decade and changes in policies are drawing attention to macroeconomics and health findings. The Indian Commission on Macroeconomics and Health was formally launched on January 6 this year with the Ministers for Health and Finance co-Chairing the Commission. The Indian Commission will look into areas needing attention and try to find ways of increasing investment in health. It is anticipated that the Commission and the changing political climate will be able to help assess the needs of the poor and advise on additional funds required - both from domestic and from international sources - to tackle public health threats, particularly HIV/AIDS.

Following the presentation of the CMH Report to the Health Minister early last year it was proposed that CMH follow-up work would be carried forward by the National Poverty Alleviation Team on which the Ministry of Health is now represented. It was also planned that health and development would be on the agenda of the Indonesia Consultative Group -jointly chaired by the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs and the World Bank. In a recent meeting between representatives from the Ministry of Health and WHO's CMH Support, discussions focused on the preparation of a proposal for CMH follow-up activities in the next eight months. Examples of proposed activities include: institutional support and staffing to support macroeconomics and health work; development for scaling up investment plans in few provinces; and initiation of advocacy activities at national and provincial levels.

MYANMAR AND THE MALDIVES FOLLOW-UP ON CMH REPORT

After a successful meeting on the CMH Report in Myanmar last year, a CMH Core Group discussed ways for taking the CMH follow-up work forward. The Government is constituting a National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health. In the Maldives, an Inter-Ministerial National Seminar involving health care professionals and economists debated the CMH findings. Following the seminar, a note was drafted on the need for guidelines for systematic CMH follow-up.

SRI LANKA ESTABLISHES A NATIONAL COMMISSION ON MACROECONOMICS AND HEALTH

Sri Lanka's newly appointed National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (NCMH) includes representatives from various ministries, the WHO Country Office, UNDP, the private sector and academia. The Commission is co-chaired by the Minister of Health, Nutrition and Welfare and the Minister of Rural Economy and Deputy Minister of Finance. At the Regional Forum in December 2002, a group of parliamentarians participated in a discussion on macroeconomics and health. Later in the month, WHO took part in the first meeting of the NCMH, and in January 2003, the Columbia CMH team participated in the second meeting of the NCMH. Sri Lanka recently submitted to WHO's CMH Support Secretariat a detailed plan of action for CMH follow-up activities which include advocacy and preparatory studies on the economic costs of selected priority diseases and a basic health care package for the poor. These studies will form the basis for a ten-year investment plan.

PARLIAMENTARIANS MEETING IN THAILAND

An important event was the Regional Conference of Parliamentarians held in December 2002 in Bangkok, which focused on the main themes of the CMH Report. The Conference brought together parliamentarians from the Asia-Pacific and Central Asian Regions to review the status of poverty eradication programs in the region and links to health and population issues.

THAILAND WORKING TOWARDS A NATIONAL COMMISSION

Following a presentation of the CMH Report to the Ministry of Public Health last year, it was recognized that the CMH follow-up framework could be used for transforming the country's health situation in parallel to poverty alleviation efforts. Thailand has set up a Working Group on Investing in Health to promote the establishment of a suitable national mechanism in the model of a National Commission under the Bureau of Health Policy and Planning of the Ministry of Health. An official launch of a NCMH, or similar body, is anticipated by mid-2003.

CHINA TO INVESTIGATE LINKS BETWEEN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENTS IN HEALTH

In December last year, Chinese authorities were presented with the findings of the CMH Report and its implications for economic and social reforms during a special seminar on Macroeconomics and Health. The seminar heard about the health status of the country and the macroeconomics and health work by national academic bodies. There was debate on how the CMH findings would apply to the Chinese situation. Representatives from Chinese Universities, WHO and the Columbia team participated in a successful press briefing that received high media coverage in over 30 Chinese newspapers and journals. Following the seminar, the WHO and Columbia CMH team met with the Ministers of Health and Finance, with the State Development Planning Commission and with the donor community.

...More Country Updates in the next issue of the MacroHealth Newsletter

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