No. 8, March 2004
COUNTRY ACTION ..... COUNTRY ACTION
Bangladesh forms national Macroeconomics and Health mechanism
Bangladesh’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has formed a National Commission for Macroeconomics and Health (NCMH) for taking forward Macroeconomics and Health work. The NCMH will develop a pro-poor health strategy and investment plan and integrate them into Bangladesh’s overall poverty reduction strategy. This strategy will be targeted toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
The NCMH will aim to facilitate joint work between multiple ministries and the private sector toward the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy process. The Commission will also focus on evaluating existing evidence on health and poverty, identifying essential health interventions and their costs. Options for mobilizing additional financial resources for health, both domestically and from external sources, will be examined. The NCMH will also assess the need for technical assistance required to build national capacity in fields like epidemiology, health economics, and health finance. New studies will be commissioned to ensure a firm body of evidence on which to formulate national policies.
Macroeconomics and Health makes strides in India
Following participation in the Second Consultation on Macroeconomics and Health, Increasing Investments in Health Outcomes for the Poor, in October 2003, the sub-commission of India’s NCMH has embarked on the planning process for 2004.
India is grappling with low public investment in health, as well as large disparities in health outcomes across states, regions, castes, and socio-economic groups. This sub-commission intends to carry out key analyses that will serve as the foundation for the national health investment plan. Main areas of analysis include an assessment of the current health financing mechanisms and options for mobilizing more resources, determining the cost of an essential health services package, identifying the roles of the public and private sectors, and the implications of HIV/AIDS. The NCMH is also continuing to build political support for the future implementation of its recommendations.
Reviewing progress and planning the way forward in Ghana
"Scaling-up Health Investments for Better Health, Economic Growth and Accelerated Poverty Reduction, June 2003”, a report reviewing Macroeconomics and Health work in Ghana, is completed. The report is intended to show the linkages with the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), analysing gaps and how to tackle them, in order to enable Ghana to meet the Millennium Development Goals. This report follows two other groups of reports, including six technical papers published in February 2003, that will form the basis for Ghana’s Health Investment Plan.
Two other studies have also been completed recently. The first found that malaria can contribute to as much as a 4% reduction in economic growth in Ghana. The second provides evidence that access to clean water is a key factor in improving health and economic productivity. This analytical work will be used to influence the PRSP and the budgetary review processes, helping to develop pro-poor national health policies and mobilize more resources for health.
This work is being coordinated by the Ghana NCMH, launched in November 2002. The NCMH is analysing the Ghanaian Poverty Reduction Strategy in light of the findings of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, focusing on three main issues; health insurance, water and sanitation access, and human resources capacity at village level. The Macroeconomics and Health strategy also plays an important role in sustaining high-level political commitment for increased investment in health.
Mexican Commission moves toward completion of report
Mexico’s NCMH, the Comisión Mexicana de Macroeconomía y Salud (CMMS), is working to complete a report on different aspects of the relationship between health and economics in Mexico. For this project, the CMMS was divided into five working groups, each of them coordinated by a member of the CMMS: (1) Diagnosis of the health status of the Mexican population and of the public health system vis- à-vis achievement of the Millennium Development Goals; (2) Health, economic development and poverty reduction; (3) Intra- and intersectoral health-related public policies; (4) Health insurance and social protection; and (5) Global and regional public goods for health in Mexico. The findings of each working group will be integrated into the final report.
Second seminar on Macroeconomics and Health held in El Salvador
The second of three seminars on Macroeconomics and Health was held in El Salvador in September 2003 to inform and mobilize political interest and support on health and poverty issues. Organized by the Ministry of Health of El Salvador in cooperation with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/WHO, these seminars are intended as preparatory activities for the launch of a national Macroeconomics and Health mechanism.
Djibouti pushes ahead with Macroeconomics and Health
Djibouti has received funding for its Macroeconomics and Health work plan and continues to move forward with analytical and advocacy work. In October 2003, the Secretary General for the Ministry of Health, the Director of Budgets for the Ministry of Financing and Planning and WHO staff revised the country’s Macroeconomics and Health work plan and a preliminary epidemiological and economic situation analysis. During a recent mission to Djibouti, WHO staff supported work towards the preparation of a national health investment plan and examined how Macroeconomics and Health can link with Djibouti’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper.
More Country Updates in the next issue of the MacroHealth Newsletter...
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