AfDB, EIB, IsDB join WHO to launch new platform

In a significant development, three multilateral development banks, along with the World Health Organization (WHO), have come together to launch the Health Impact Investment Platform. The aim of the platform, unveiled during the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact in Paris, is to invest in and enhance essential primary health care services in low- and low-middle-income countries. An initial amount of €1.5 billion will be made available through concessional loans and grants to expand the reach and scope of primary health care services, particularly for vulnerable and underserved populations.

The founding members of the platform include the African Development Bank, European Investment Bank (EIB), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and WHO. Recognising the global nature of the challenge, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is also considering joining the partnership to extend the initiative to Latin America and the Caribbean region.

The WHO will serve as the policy coordinator for the platform, ensuring that financing decisions align with national health priorities and strategies. The secretariat of the platform will support governments in developing national health and investment plans, with a focus on prioritising primary health care. Additionally, the platform aims to catalyse broader investments in primary health care to support government health strategies.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, emphasised the effectiveness of a primary health care approach in improving overall health and well-being. Primary health care plays a crucial role in achieving universal health coverage, a key goal of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Health Impact Investment Platform will strengthen the development of primary health care services, providing an invaluable investment in the health of present and future populations.

The partner development banks are committed to supporting countries in strengthening their primary health care services, both for community health promotion and resilience against future health emergencies. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the consequences of inadequate investment in essential health services. Through the Health Impact Investment Platform, multilateral development banks aim to enable countries in need to build resilient primary health care services that can withstand the shocks of future health crises and safeguard communities and economies.

To achieve the health-related Sustainable Development Goals, low- and low-middle-income countries need to significantly increase their health spending, requiring an additional $371 billion annually by 2030. This funding will ensure access to health services, facilitate infrastructure development, and train and deploy health workers effectively. Furthermore, preparing for future pandemics will necessitate an estimated annual investment of $31.1 billion, with a third of that amount coming from international financing. The catalytic financing provided by the Health Impact Investment Platform will also stimulate the mobilisation and coordination of broader financing flows through national primary health care investment plans.

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