Health financing for universal coverage

Health financing: a strategy for the African region

Regional Committee for Africa; Fifty-sixth session; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 28 August-1 September 2006

Executive summary

1. The manner in which a health system is financed affects its stewardship, input creation, service provision and achievement of goals such as good health, responsiveness to people’s non-medical expectations (short waiting times, respect for dignity, cleanliness of physical facilities, quality meals) and fair financial contributions, so that individuals are not exposed to great financial risk of impoverishment.

2. Countries of the Region are confronted with a number of key challenges including low investment in health; low economic growth rates; dearth of comprehensive health financing policies and strategic plans; extensive out-of-pocket payments; limited financial access to health services; limited coverage by health insurance; lack of social safety nets to protect the poor; inefficient resource use; ineffective aid; and weak mechanisms for coordinating partner support in the health sector.

3. In order to reach the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and achieve national health development objectives, national health systems in the African Region urgently need more money; greater equity in health services financing and accessibility; efficient use of health resources; and expanded coverage of health services, especially those targeting the poor. Countries are urged to institutionalize national health accounts to facilitate financial planning, monitoring and evaluation.

4. The aim of this strategy is to foster development of equitable, efficient and sustainable national health financing to achieve the health-related MDGs and other national health goals.

5. The Regional Committee is invited to consider this strategy and the attached resolution and adopt the recommended actions.

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