Macroeconomics and Health (CMH)

MacroHealth Newsletter

No. 12, January 2005


In Yemen, Macroeconomics and Health is linking with the Millennium Project and others to identify needed investments and policies for reaching the health-related MDGs. Meanwhile, the Caribbean sub-regional MH initiative is moving towards completion of its final report and dissemination of findings.

With partners, MH supports MDG efforts in Yemen

Macroeconomics and Health is linking up with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Millennium Project and other partners to support achievement of the MDGs in Yemen. Yemen is a target country of the Millennium Project, which is charged with recommending the best strategies for achieving the MDGs. The momentum brought by the Millennium Project, MH work, and other health and development initiatives provides the opportunity for more integrated support and aligning stakeholders around one health planning framework.

A mission to Yemen by members of the CMH Support Unit, WHO's Health and Development Policy group, UNFPA and a WHO consultant took place in October 2004 and had three main objectives: to start a process to assess needs for reaching the health MDGs; to review existing analytical work, identify information gaps, and begin formulating the health component within national development planning; and to provide input into the work of the Health and Population Thematic Working Group, one of five Working Groups set up for the MDGs needs assessment exercise. Work to link more closely the MDGs needs assessment, MH work, and a number of other initiatives is continuing in 2005.

The mission recommended future actions to ensure delivery of a basic health care package, especially to disadvantaged groups. It called for building strong political leadership to coordinate the many stakeholders, health sector reform in a number of priority areas, including planning and financial management and human resources, and targeting the poor and vulnerable. It also recommended mobilizing new resources domestically and externally and improved collaboration between the public and private sectors. Finally, the mission identified a crucial need to improve collaboration between the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Finance and the line ministries.

Caribbean Commission discusses draft report at Policy Round-Table

The Caribbean Commission on Health and Development has recently completed the first draft of its Report, which seeks to present evidence and arguments for placing health centrally in development. The Report is a synthesis of Working Papers on issues ranging from poverty and health to health and tourism to HIV/AIDS. It also devotes significant attention to the impact of non-communicable diseases and possible policy responses and human resource crises, particularly the drain of nurses from the health system. It identifies as major issues the institutionalization of a three-tiered health system, in which all but the poor opt out of public health services, and the impact of user fees which disproportionately affect the poor.

A Policy Round-Table meeting was held 15-17 December 2004 in Barbados to review the first draft of the Report, examine issues of policy that have emerged, and agree on a mechanism for sensitization and dissemination of the policy issues. The meeting included representatives from Health, Social Development, Tourism, Finance, Disaster Management, Trade sectors and the media.

Did you know?

  • Per capita expenditure on health in the high-income countries is about US$ 2,750, while in low-income countries it is about US$ 31 per capita and in sub-Saharan Africa it is under US$ 22 per capita (World Bank).
  • The under-five mortality rate in the high-income countries is 6.6 per 1,000 live births; in developing countries it is 88 per 1,000 live births (World Bank).
  • There are an estimated 750,000 health workers for a population of 682 million in Africa. The ratio is 10-15 times lower than in OECD countries (Addressing Africa's Health Workforce Crisis: an Avenue for Action. Paper prepared for High-Level Forum on the Health MDGs, 2 – 3 December 2004).

January "Quote of the month": "The Macroeconomics and Health investment plan, supported by the highest national authorities and developed in an excellent collaborative spirit, indicates where we want to go towards reaching the health MDGs and can be presented to the donor community."

Dr Melville George, WHO Representative, Ghana