Macroeconomics and Health (CMH)

MacroHealth Newsletter

No. 5 July 2003


Country feedback at the World Health Assembly briefing

A briefing on “Scaling up Investment in Health: Country Responses to the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health Report” was held during the World Health Assembly on 21 May. A discussion followed during which participants from NGOs and country delegations, including countries implementing Macroeconomics and Health activities, debated how the commitment of interested actors had developed and could be further strengthened.

Participants agreed on the political value of the CMH Report and noted that the macroeconomics and health concepts put forward by countries were broadening and issues related to health systems constraints were becoming central in governments’ agendas. In addition, they emphasized the importance of sustainability and “predictability” of funding for MHS work, including clarity on funding sources for health investments and better integration of other players, such as the World Bank. Participants felt that poverty reduction strategies were insufficient to effectively integrate health in poverty reduction mechanisms and noted that a more articulated and framed approach to health and poverty was needed. Furthermore, it was emphasized that the Macroeconomics and Health Strategy would not act as yet another initiative but rather will use existing mechanisms at country level to better focus on the health for the poor. Finally, some suggested that more consideration be paid to the effects of the macroeconomics environment on health and poverty. The report on the briefing can be found at:

The Ministerial Consultation on Increasing Investments in Health Outcomes for the Poor

A Ministerial Consultation on Increasing Investments in Health Outcomes for the Poor will be held from 28 - 30 October 2003. This Consultation will bring together ministers of health, finance and planning from around 30 developing countries, and senior representatives of a number of development agencies. The Consultation will offer an opportunity to strengthen common action for the integration of health investment in poverty reduction and development of cooperation mechanisms. This will be done in line with other UN initiatives and will contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Countries will report on their progress, where they are heading and share experiences and lessons learned. The Consultation will strengthen inter-linkages between countries and development partners, and will favour joint planning among initiatives which have similar partners and goals. Decision makers and analysts most committed and experienced in health investments for poverty reduction will have the opportunity to network and debate common agendas.

New CMH event website and new Spanish editions of CMH publications

An event website is being constructed specifically for the Consultation on Increasing Investments in Health Outcomes for the Poor and will soon be available via the Macroeconomics and Health site ( It will provide background information, agenda, materials, a list of participants, and practical information about the Consultation in October 2003.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is offering a Spanish version of Macroeconomía y salud: Invertir en salud en pro del desarrollo económico in its online bookshop: [new window]. PAHO has also translated into Spanish the CMH Working Group 1 Report, Salud, crecimiento económico y reducción de la pobreza. Informe del Grupo de Trabajo 1 de la Comisión sobre Macroeconomía y Salud.
The Working Group 1 Report can be found at: [new window].

CMH visits the Gates Foundation

In September 2002 the Gates Foundation approved a grant to WHO to provide the necessary support to Macroeconomics and Health work in 30 countries interested in the CMH Report. At a June 2003 meeting, Gates Foundation representatives and WHO senior management discussed how WHO can further work with governments interested in pursuing the CMH recommendations to develop coherent Macroeconomics and Health country plans and maintain high-level advocacy efforts for increasing investment in health.

A new Forum to advance achievement of Millenium Development Goals

The 8 May Ottawa meeting on Accelerating Progress to Meet the Health, Nutrition and Population Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) proposed the creation of a High-Level Forum. The meeting was hosted by Canada, the United Kingdom and the World Bank and was attended by high-level participants from eight developing countries, ten OECD countries, the European Commission, donors and representatives from the UN and various partnerships.

It was noted that at current rates of progress, many developing countries will not meet MDG targets. The High-Level Forum on Health, Nutrition and Population-Related MDGs will provide an opportunity for senior policy makers from developed and developing countries to take stock, review progress and identify opportunities for accelerating action in relation to the health-related MDGs. The Forum, to be facilitated by the WHO and the World Bank, will focus on countries as units for action and analysis. It will seek to promote lesson-learning across countries and regions and to create linkages and synergies, particularly between global health partnerships and national poverty reduction strategies.

Human Development Report

The 2003 Human Development Report, an independent publication commissioned by the UN Development Programme, has been launched. The Report sets out a Millennium Development Compact, a broad framework for how national development strategies and international support from donors, international agencies and others can collaborate to accelerate progress toward achieving the MDGs. Among others, health is seen as a critical input to economic growth and poverty reduction. Professor Jeffrey Sachs served as Guest Contributing Editor to the publication. For more information, please visit [new window].