Friday, August 04, 2006

Panel on Innovative Financing for Global Health

July 25, 2006 2:30 – 5:00 PM

Alice Albright, Chief Financial Officer of GAVI
Timothy Evan, Assistant Director-General-Evidence & Information for Policy, World Health Organization
Julio Frenk, Minister of Health, Mexico
Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS
Moderator: David de Ferranti, Brookings

The event consisted of a panel involved in the global health sector that discussed their opinions on the global health financing gaps and discussed financing solutions that were taking place in the international sector. When looking at the financial aspects of global health, it is important to consider the current flow of money, the offsets, and how that will impact the future.

From the perspective of UNAIDS, voiced by Peter Piot, there have been huge financing leaps for the HIVAIDS programs, however, there has also been widespread transmittance of the disease, so support for combating the epidemic is still seriously under funded. 2001 was a time of remarkable progress for HIV/AIDS relief funding in its ability to tap into global interest to gain a large level of support. In 2005, $8.3 billion was spent on HIV/AIDS programs, but it is imperative that funding continue to increase substantially. The cost of anti-retroviral drugs is a main concern in the future. While the unit price has dropped significantly, immunity to the ARV treatment has developed in patients who are not consistent. Therefore new ARV treatments must be developed, meaning more funding must poor into this. Aids service as part of the health system can be beneficial; the Ryan White Act is an example of this. There is a need for capacity investments, ownership, coherence, and accountability across the health financing spectrum.

Alice Albright discussed the immunization gap in the world, specifically focusing on children’s immunizations. In addressing the gaps, one must look at how to reduce the amount of children without access to vaccinations, narrow discrimination between the numbers of vaccinations that are provided to children, and to increase investment in research and development. Problems in addressing these gaps are availability of funding and consistency of funding. The IFFIM was conceived to address many funding issues, at the moment there are eight world donors who are legally bound for 20 years. The impact of the IFFIM includes new donors, market influence, country planning, and sustainability.

Julio Frenk discussed Mexico’s current health status. Their status has improved due to economic growth and scientific knowledge. Mexico has a rights based approach to healthcare including a new scheme for allocating funds. Mexico has had a 12 fold increase in civil society organizations since 2000. This has led to accelerated universal coverage. Now they are focusing on building healthcare systems with specific priorities. For example, the vertical systems target specific issues, the horizontal systems are good for general health strengthening, and the diagonal heath systems combine the goals of the vertical and horizontal systems. With this, Mexico can focus on research, reform, monitoring, evaluation, scientific excellence, and decision making. Three future suggestions for Mexico’s improved healthcare focus on exchange, evidence, and empathy.

by Rebecca Bonardi

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