In 1993, the global heath community was introduced to a new way of measuring and valuing health and interventions to improve health through an economic lens. The World Bank s World Development Report 93 (WDR93) looked at the topic of Investing in Health, examining the interplay between human health, health policy and economic development. It advocated a three-pronged approach for government action to improve health in low-income countries: (1) governments should foster an economic environment that enables households to improve their own health; (2) government spending on health should be directed to more cost-effective, pro-poor programs; and (3) governments must promote greater diversity and competition in the delivery of health services. WDR93 s analyses and conclusions have featured prominently in the investment planning and policy debates over subsequent years.
Purpose and Goals of the Commission on Investing in Health
CDDEP serves as secretariat to the Lancet Commission on Investing in Health (CIH), which was formed in December 2012. The CIH is chaired by Professor Lawrence H. Summers from Harvard University (who was chief economist at the World Bank in 1993) and co-chaired by Professor Dean T. Jamison from the University of Washington (the lead author of WDR93 and a current CDDEP Senior Fellow). Composed of twenty-five distinguished global experts in a range of disciplines, the CIH has served as a 20-year anniversary research and consultative project that has revisited the methods and conclusions of WDR93 in light of subsequent research findings, technological advances, institutional changes and on-the-ground experience. The ultimate goal of the CIH has been to draw lessons from past successes to inform current and future policies for addressing remaining global health problems.
Launch of the CIH report Global Health 2035
The Global Health 2035 report launched in London at the Royal College of Physicians on December 3, 2013. A recording of the event is now available at The Lancet's website. The report was also launched on the same day in Johannesburg and Tunis.
Meetings of the CIH
The CIH engaged in a rigorous consultative process that began in December 2012 and included three meetings of the full Commission:
- The inaugural CIH meeting at Harvard on December 18-20, 2012
- A 2nd meeting in Oslo on March 2-3, 2013
- A 3rd and final meeting in Kigali on July 17-18, 2013
In addition, the CIH held three topic-specific consultations:
- A UCSF Global Health Group-hosted meeting on the economics and financing of health on May 1-2, 2013
- Two one-day meetings (co-sponsored by the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) and the Disease Control Priorities Project): Policy Measures to Reduce Incidence of NCDs on July 31, 2013; and Health and Welfare Implications of Taxation and Subsidy Policies to Alter NCD Risks on August 1, 2013
Other CIH-related activities have included engagement at the 3rd COHRED Colloquium which also celebrated 20 years of COHRED s work (view a message given by Lawrence H. Summers to the participants at this event) and participation in discussions around the post-MDG framework. The Commission has also engaged closely with technical teams from the WHO (RMNCH, TB, HIV, malaria, NTDs), the World Bank, UNAIDS and many others.
Background working papers
In addition to the above consultations and many valuable inputs by colleagues and friends of the CIH along the way, the work of the CIH has been informed by several working papers commissioned specifically as part of this process. Final versions of these papers will also be published on December 3rd, as well as posted to the Global Health 2035 website.
The work of the Commission has been supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Disease Control Priorities Network project (funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and based at the Department of Global Health of the University of Washington), the Harvard Global Health Institute, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, and the UK Department for International Development.
Sweta Adhikari is a data analyst at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and a former CDDEP researcher.
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