Two studies have been published in the Lancet on global health financing.
‘Evolution and patterns of global health financing 1995–2014: development assistance for health, and government, prepaid private, and out-of-pocket health spending in 184 countries’.
Global Burden of Disease Health Financing Collaborator Network, The Lancet Volume 389, No. 10083, p1981-2004, 20 May 2017
An adequate amount of prepaid resources for health is important to ensure access to health services and for the pursuit of universal health coverage. Previous studies on global health financing have described the relationship between economic development and health financing. In this study, the researchers further explore global health financing trends and examine how the sources of funds used, types of services purchased, and development assistance for health disbursed change with economic development. They also identify countries that deviate from the trends.
The Authors conclude that the availability of prepaid resources for health, such as government spending, is one of many determinants of access to health care, and can lead to population health gains. Economic development is associated with an increase in spending and specifically an increase in prepaid resources. This is at the core of the pursuit for universal health coverage.
This research also points to countries that deviate from the trends, spending more or less than expected, based on their level of economic development. This information is valuable to planners assessing funding gaps and financing opportunities, and can be used to provide insight into what future health financing challenges are likely. Tracking changes in health financing patterns across time and benchmarking against global trends is vital to addressing missed opportunities, ensuring access to medicines and high quality services, and the pursuit of universal health coverage.
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‘Future and potential spending on health 2015–40: development assistance for health, and government, prepaid private, and out-of-pocket health spending in 184 countries’.
Global Burden of Disease Health Financing Collaborator Network, The Lancet Volume 389, No. 10083, p2005-2030, 20 May 2017
Variation in GDP and health spending is expected to persist through 2040. Past trends and relationships suggest that health spending levels will continue to diverge globally and even within income groups. Increases in spending to reflect potential levels, as determined by GDP per capita and peer nations, would lead to more resources for health. However, the pathways to ensure these increases vary from country to country.
This analysis can inform decision makers about possible methods to mobilise funds for health, given their country’s level of development and financing environment. Despite expected increases in spending, this spending in some places will probably be insufficient to meet complex health needs, underlining the ongoing role of development assistance for health in some countries. Insights into spending trajectories and financing gaps are crucial as health stakeholders face the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals agenda and the push towards universal health coverage.
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