Macroeconomics and Health (CMH)

MacroHealth Newsletter

No. 6 October 2003


Global Consultation on Macroeconomics and Health nears

The “Global Consultation on Increasing Investments in Health Outcomes for the Poor” will take place from 28-30 October 2003 at WHO Headquarters in Geneva, with active contribution from WHO Regional and Country Offices and support from the Gates Foundation and the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom. The Consultation aims to continue and enhance dialogue between country decision makers and development partners on the country-led content, process, and mechanisms for improving health outcomes, especially for the poor. Participants will include ministers and high-level officials from health, finance and planning from 40 developing countries, and senior representatives from a number of development agencies, banks, foundations, and academic institutions.

Three themes will be addressed through presentations by country delegates, expert speakers, and representatives of development agencies. These are:

  • how to improve the effectiveness of health delivery systems and monitor outcomes;
  • how to make health central in the country macroeconomic framework and increase internal allocation of resources to health;
  • how to make external funding more predictable and increase coordination with partners.

The Consultation will begin with a one-day preparatory meeting on 28 October to discuss operational and technical matters. A two-day Ministerial Consultation will follow during which participants will share country experiences and propose follow-up activities on country macroeconomics and health work.

For more information on the Global Consultation, visit the event web site at:

Translated publications available

WHO has recently published French, Spanish and Portuguese translations of the book Investing in Health: A Summary of the Findings of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health. The publication describes the main findings and recommendations of the CMH Report and outlines how countries can move forward by examining health priorities and the actions required to scale up health services to the poor. The publication is currently being translated into Arabic and Russian, and copies are expected to be available by the end of 2004. The English version of the book can be seen at:

Country achievements compilation in the pipeline

A compilation of country achievements in public health reported from a human angle is currently being produced in close collaboration with WHO Regional and Country Offices. Articles have been researched and written by leading locally based journalists and writers in China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico, Sri Lanka, and Yemen. These stories have attempted to publicize country efforts to address key systemic constraints in health. It is anticipated that this publication will be launched in January 2004.

Gates Award for Global Health

The Gates Award for Global Health in the amount of $1 million is given each year to an organization that has made a major and lasting contribution to global health. Nominations for the 2004 award are being accepted until 5 December 2003, and any organization from any country may be nominated. The award will be presented on 3 June 2004 in Washington, D.C. The 2003 award went to the Brazilian National AIDS Program (NAP). For more information, please visit:

World Bank publishes study on the economic consequences of AIDS

In July 2003 the World Bank published a study, "The Long-run Economic Costs of AIDS: Theory and an Application to South Africa", which overturned much of the conventional wisdom on the long-term economic impact of HIV/AIDS. The study showed that up until now, the economic consequences of AIDS have been greatly underestimated, and the case of South Africa was chosen to demonstrate the long-term effects of the epidemic. While previous studies had projected that AIDS reduces Gross Domestic Product growth by about 1 % per year, the World Bank study maintains that this figure does not take into account the detrimental impact of AIDS on human capital. If actions are not taken to contain the epidemic, the study estimates that AIDS could lead to economic collapse in the countries hardest hit by the disease within several generations. The World Bank study can be downloaded at the following address:

World Development Report 2004 just out

The World Bank has just published a report warning that broad improvements in human welfare will not occur unless poor people receive improved access to affordable, better quality services, including health, education, water, sanitation and electricity. Improvement in quality of and access to social services is key to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The report, entitled “World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work for Poor People”, provides personal accounts from poor people describing their experiences with inferior social services and also provides examples of where services do work and can improve the lives of people. According to the report, the main determinant of success or failure is the degree to which poor people have a say in the quality and quantity of services they receive. For more information, visit