Global Investment Framework for Women’s and Children’s health

3 DECEMBER 2013 | LONDON

To mark the 20th anniversary of the 1993 World Development Report on Investing in Health, the Lancet today launched a special issue from the Commission on Investing in Health (special issue). This commission was established to review the 1993 conclusions in light of the 20 years of experience since this report, and to offer new policy guidance on the basis of those findings.

To collaborate with the Lancet Commission, The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, The World Health Organization and the University of Washington have led a major process with partners over the past year to develop the Global Investment Framework for Women’s and Children’s Health.

“Advancing social and economic development by investing in women’s and children’s health: a new global investment framework” (Stenberg et al) draws on the work of the Study Group for the Global Investment Framework for Women's Children's Health, coordinated by The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health and the World Health Organization.

The Global Investment Framework estimates that increasing health expenditure by just $5 per person per year up to 2035 in 74 high-burden countries could yield up to nine times that value in economic and social benefits. These returns include greater gross domestic product (GDP) growth through improved productivity and labour participation, as well as prevention of the deaths of 147 million children, 32 million stillbirths, and 5 million women by 2035. These gains could be achieved by an additional investment overall of $30 billion per year, equivalent to a 2% increase above current spending.

The Investment Framework enables a more targeted and strategic approach to investing in women’s and children’s health based on national needs and priorities by:

  • providing guidance on how to optimize resource allocation to maximize social and economic returns;
  • demonstrating the affordability and high rates of return of increased, targeted health investments; and
  • sharpening country investment strategies to improve context-specific decision making over the next two decades.

The Global Investment Framework was developed at the request of the independent Expert Review Group (iERG), as one of the key pillars of the on-going accountability agenda for women’s and children’s health. It is produced in association with the Lancet Commission on Investing in Health. The Commission will publish its results on 3 December, 2013, to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1993 World Development Report, “Investing in Health”, which highlighted the importance of health investment and health policy in economic development and placed health more firmly on the global development agenda.

The Commission on Investing in Health is chaired by Larry Summers, president emeritus of Harvard, and co-chaired by Dean Jamison, professor of global health at the University of Washington. The Commission examines:

  • how the context for health investment has changed over the last 20 years;
  • the national policy opportunities for low- and middle-income countries to achieve dramatic health gains over the next 20 years and to reduce illness-related poverty; and
  • the future role of international collective action for health, particularly in supporting research and development .

The Global Investment Framework for Women’s and Children’s Health study group, co-chaired by Dr Carole Presern (Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health), Dr Dean Jamison (University of Washington), and Dr Flavia Bustreo (World Health Organization) drew on the expertise of more than two dozen organizations, including: The World Health Organization, The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, SickKids Center for Global Child Health; Center of Excellence in Women & Child Health; The Aga Khan University; The GAVI Alliance; Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Health Section; UNICEF; UN Population Fund; US Agency for International Development; Victoria University; University of Washington and University of California.

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