World Bank Group President David Malpass’ has said at the 2019 UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) that accelerating progress toward Universal Health Coverage is critical to alleviating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
“Health is also an economic imperative as it is one of the global economy’s largest sectors, providing 50 million jobs—and the majority for women,” he said in his remarks.
Malpass said The World Bank latest figures show that every year, people pay over half a trillion dollars out-of-pocket for health care. This causes financial hardship for more than 925 million people and pushes nearly 90 million people into extreme poverty every year.
“Improving health outcomes is a key focus at the World Bank Group. Words are not sufficient – improved funding and health systems are vital. IDA – our fund for the poorest countries – is one of the most important tools to finance healthcare in lower income countries”.
He said over the last decade, IDA has provided US$13.5 billion to fund essential health interventions for 770 million people, and immunizations for 330 million children and that the share of IDA funding for health and nutrition has increased by 60% over the last decade, reflecting rising demand from countries.
Malpass also said, “IDA funding is critical, but it is not nearly enough. Even in the most optimistic scenarios, we estimate that thefinancing gap to achieve UHC in the 54 poorest countries – home to 1.5 billion people – will be around $176 billion annually.
“To close that gap, we are focusing relentlessly on delivering good outcomes. I propose four priority areas where we can do more, and most importantly, where there is strong evidence on what works”.