Macroeconomics and Health (CMH)

Background on CMH

Background banner

The Commission provides evidence that investments in global health will save 8 million lives a year by 2010 and generate at least a $360 billion annual gain during the period 2015-2020, several times the costs of scaling up the health interventions themselves, counting both the donor and recipient country efforts.

The Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (CMH), established in January 2000 by former WHO Director-General Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, was made up of 18 of the world’s leading economists, public health experts, development professionals and policy-makers under the Chairmanship of Professor Jeffrey Sachs, then Director of the Center for International Development at Harvard University.

To arrive at its conclusions, the Commission organized its research and intensive analysis mainly within six working groups, which in turn engaged a worldwide network of experts in public health, finance and economics. Each working group commissioned papers, debated alternative approaches, circulated drafts to the policy and scholarly community, and made detailed recommendations to the full Commission in the form of a Working Group Report. These reports are a synthesis of the commissioned background papers and the culmination of each working group’s detailed review of the literature and intensive deliberations.


The CMH Working Groups

  • Working Group 1: Health, Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction addressed the impact of health investments on poverty reduction and economic growth. Co-Chairs were Sir George Alleyne (Pan American Health Organization) and Professor Daniel Cohen (Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, France).
  • Working Group 2: Global Public Goods for Health examined multi-country policies, programmes and initiatives having a positive impact on health that extends beyond the borders of any specific country. Co-Chairs were Professor Richard Feecham (Institute for Global Health, University of California-San Francisco) and Professor Jeffrey Sachs (Center for International Development at Harvard University, USA).
  • Working Group 3: Mobilization of Domestic Resources for Health assessed the economic consequences of alternative approaches to resource mobilization for health systems and interventions from domestic resources. Co-Chairs were Dr Alain Tait (former senior IMF official) and Professor Kwesi Botchwey (Harvard University, USA, and former Minister of Finance, Ghana).
  • Working Group 4: Health and the International Economy examined trade in health services, commodities and insurance; patents for medicines and Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS); international migration of health workers; international movements of risk factors; health conditions and health finance policies as rationales for protection; and other ways that trade may be affecting the health sector. The Chair of the Working Group was Dr Isher Judge Ahluwalia (Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, New Delhi, India).
  • Working Group 5: Improving Health Outcomes of the Poor addressed the technical options, constraints and costs for mounting a major global effort to improve the health of the poor dramatically by 2015. Co-Chairs were Dr Prabhat Jha (WHO) and Professor Anne Mills (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK).
  • Working Group 6: International Development Assistance and Health reviewed health implications of development assistance policies including modalities relating to economic crisis and debt relief. Co-Chairs were Mr Zephirin Diabre (United Nations Development Programme), Mr Christopher Lovelace (World Bank) and Ms Carin Norberg (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency).