Macroeconomics and Health (CMH)

Collaborations with development cooperation actors

WHO/Dermot Tatlow

To meet its fundamental goals of promoting investments in health for poverty reduction and economic growth, and with a view to mobilizing financial and technical resources, WHO promotes collaborations with a number of bilateral and multilateral development cooperation partners.

At an international level, a key outlet for partnership work on health and development, which also informs macroeconomics and health work, is the High-Level Forum on the Health MDGs, which WHO facilitates in partnership with the World Bank. Other networks include: United Nations Development Group(UNDG) ; (e.g. simplification and harmonization task force) OECD/DAC (e.g. task team on implementing the Rome and Paris agenda); EC-WHO Strategic Partnership on Development; European Union (EU) Health Forum.

A key aspect of strategic partnerships with development cooperation actors are collaborations for country action. An outstanding example of such cooperation is the collaboration with the Gates Foundation, which started in 2002. The Gates Foundation has been instrumental in enabling WHO to start without any delay the implementation of the macroeconomics and health follow-up and to progress quickly in the critical components of advocacy and country support.

Italy and Sweden are two other important partners, which, in addition to funding, have been crucial in providing technical expertise for macroeconomics and health activities. Assessments, for example, have been undertaken with the support of the Italian Expertise Fund in Ethiopia and Malawi [pdf 899 kb], with a focus on better planning and coordination in the health sector, as well as a desk study of the needs in the area of macroeconomics and health of three African countries (Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya).

Luxembourg and Norway have also been long standing supporters of MH activities as part of their contributions to WHO for country action on health and development. Germany has provided important technical support through the Associate Experts Programme.

Another key component of the partnerships with development cooperation organizations is co-sponsoring of activities directly at country level. Countries presenting requests to WHO are encouraged to identify matching opportunities for local collaborations.

A few examples:

In China, the MH approach met positive support from bilateral and multi-lateral partners working at the country level, such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), and New Zealand's Agency for International Development (NZAID). This support contributed to evidence building on issues such as the integration of economic, social and health sector reforms, financing strategies for rural health services and health security systems, coordination of external aid and domestic resources.

In Indonesia, where an articulated consultative mechanism is in place between the Government and the donors, the MH process has taken advantage and added strength to the existing development cooperation mechanisms, particularly under the Consultative Group on Indonesia, consisting of the G7 members, multilateral financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, and other bilateral organizations. The Group is the source of official assistance to Indonesia in the form of both loans and grants. Specific components of the macroeconomics and health plan of work have been funded by AusAID and the UN country coordination team.

In Pakistan, the National Health Policy Unit (NHPU), which acts as secretariat for the National Committee on Macroeconomics and Health within the Ministry of Health, is jointly sponsored by the Government of Pakistan, DFID, WHO and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). NHPU has devised a plan of action for carrying out various activities to meet the objective of increasing health investments for the poor.

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