Full document: Global Strategy for Women's and Children's health
More money for health
Efficiency and effectiveness can take us only so far. We must also invest much more, every year, and scale up efforts to support the health-related MDGs (MDGs 1c, 4, 5 and 6). There is broad agreement on what must be included in a package of key, low-cost interventions – from vaccines and medicines to family planning and micronutrients – that can mean the difference between life and death for many vulnerable women and children.
In order to deliver this essential package of interventions and ensure that countries are able to sustain their efforts over the longer term, scaled-up investment in health systems is also critical. Strong health systems require sustained investment over time. In many countries, there remains a large funding gap that must be filled in order to reach women and children with basic health services.
Among the 49 lowest-income countries in the world alone24, the overall funding gap for the health MDGs ranges from US$26 billion per year in 2011 (US$19 per capita) to US$42 billion in 2015 (US$27 per capita) as countries scale up their programs25.
Returns on investment
Assuming the funds needed each year between 2011 and 2015 are made available, we would dramatically improve access to life-saving interventions for the most vulnerable women and children in the 49 poorest countries.
In 2015 alone:1
- 43 million new users would have access to family planning
- 19 million more women would give birth supported by a skilled birth attendant
- 2.2 million additional neonatal infections would be treated
- 21.9 million more infants would be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life
- 15.2 million more children under one year of age would be fully immunized
- 117 million more children under five would receive vitamin A supplements
- 40 million more children would be protected from pneumonia
This funding would also significantly improve the health infrastructure available to the world’s poorest women and children. In 2015, it would contribute to:
- 85,000 additional health facilities (including health centers, and district and regional hospitals)
- Between 2.5 and 3.5 million additional health workers (including community health workers, nurses, midwives, physicians, technicians and administrative staff)
The direct costs of programs relating to reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (including malaria and HIV/AIDS), and the proportional health systems costs to support their delivery, account for almost half of the estimated funding needed: from US$14 billion in 2011 (US$10 per capita) up to US$22 billion in 2015 (US$14 per capita)26, which amounts to US$88 billion in total. (See Figure 2).27
Figure 2. Estimated annual funding gap for women’s and children’s health in 49 developing countries, 2011-2015