Despite increasing threats to multilateralism, the G-7 countries assemble August 24-26 in Biarritz, France, with the fight against inequality at the core of this year’s priorities. In a bid to forge a renewed partnership with the developing world, African partners are also invited to the table. This is a welcome focus, particularly for global health, where the last two decades of international cooperation have been instrumental in mobilizing global resources to combat epidemics and save millions of lives.
Yet the world is changing, the global health landscape has dramatically evolved, and the international order is shifting amid technological and demographic forces. The challenge, in our deeply interconnected world, is how the current power players reframe global priorities to be more inclusive, more sustainable, and more equitable, thus offering the best chance at a peaceful coexistence between those who have and those who seek.
As leaders gather in Biarritz this month, they should consider five priorities for health in Africa:
- Mobilize financial resources and align funding mechanisms with the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agenda. The global consensus on health care is to promote universal access to quality, affordable care—the basis for Sustainable Development Goal 3. However, in many developing countries, progress is either stalled or off track in part because the existing funding mechanisms are fundamentally misaligned with UHC. First, there is an urgent need for greater mobilization of domestic and private sector resources, and creation of innovative financing mechanisms to address the health care financing gap. Second, and perhaps more importantly, because donor institutions constitute a significant portion of the health care budget in recipient countries, it is imperative that the donor funding is aligned with country-specific objectives, such as restructuring health systems and primary care provision. This strategy requires system-level investments in health infrastructure, human resources, health information systems, consumables, financing, and governance. As the G-7 mobilizes partners to replenish funding of multilateral institutions, including the Global Fund this year, it is equally important to evolve away from the hitherto predominantly humanitarian prism and towards an integrated approach to patient-centered care with a progressively greater share of funding invested in building sustainable health systems.
- Focus on sustainability by coinvesting and promoting predictable
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