Multilateral Development Banks & WHO Launch New Investment Platform to Strengthen Primary Health Care Services

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In a landmark development aimed at investing in and strengthening essential, climate and crisis-resilient primary health care (PHC) services in low- and low-and-middle income countries (LICs and LMICs), three multilateral development banks have joined with WHO to launch the new Health Impact Investment Platform.

The Platform, launched during the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact being held in Paris, will make an initial €1.5 billion available to LICs and LMICs in concessional loans and grants to expand the reach and scope of their PHC services, especially for the most vulnerable and underserved populations and communities.

The African Development Bank (AfDB), European Investment Bank (EIB), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and WHO are the Platform’s founding members. As this is a global challenge, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is also considering joining this partnership in view to extending this initiative to the Latin America and the Caribbean region.

WHO will act as the Platform’s policy coordinator, responsible for ensuring alignment of financing decisions with national health priorities and strategies. The Platform’s secretariat will support governments to develop national health and prioritize PHC investment plans. The Platform will also aim to catalyse wider PHC investments in support of government health strategies.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said a PHC approach offers the most effective means to improve health and well-being, including through the delivery of essential health services to all people. It is a driver of universal health coverage, one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). World leaders committed in 2015 to achieve access to essential health-care services and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all people by 2030.

“Around 90% of essential health services can be delivered through PHC - on the ground, in communities, via health professionals, doctors and nurses, in local clinics. The broad spectrum of services that PHC provides can promote health and prevent disease, avoid and delay the need for more costly secondary and tertiary services, and deliver rehabilitation,” said Dr Tedros. “PHC serves as the ‘eyes and ears’ of a country’s health system, reaching to the very communities where people live. The new Health Impact Investment Platform will strengthen the development of such services, serving as an invaluable investment in the health of populations today and in the future.”

EIB President Werner Hoyer said the partner development banks were committed to supporting countries to strengthen their primary health care services, to both promote the health of their communities and protect against the impacts of future health emergencies.

“COVID-19 demonstrated the great human and economic suffering that can occur when we fail to invest in essential health services,” said Dr Hoyer. “Cooperation among multilateral development banks through the new Health Impact Investment Platform will ensure countries in need are better able to build resilient primary health care services that can withstand the shocks of future health crises, and safeguard communities and economies for the future. We already proved that in earlier collaborations with the WHO. The platform will facilitate access to crucial international financing for the most vulnerable. It is a concrete deliverable of President Macron’s call to increase international financial solidarity with the Global South.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO estimated that to reach the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), LICs and LMICs needed to increase their health spending significantly, and require an additional US$371 billion annually combined by 2030. This funding would allow populations to access health services, contribute to building new facilities and train and place health workers where they need to be. It has also been estimated that preparing for future pandemics will require investment in the order of US$ 31.1 billion annually. Approximately one third of that total would have to come from international financing. The Health Impact Investment Platform’s catalytic financing is also designed to promote the mobilization and coordination of broader financing flows through national PHC investment plans.

The new Platform builds on experience gained through cooperation between countries, multilateral organizations and development banks proved fruitful during the pandemic. For example, WHO, the EIB and the European Commission worked closely with Angola, Ethiopia and Rwanda to strengthen their health systems. Initially launched as stand-alone programs or as part of the countries’ response to COVID-19, these interventions mobilized technical assistance, grants and investments with advantageous terms to build up primary health care.

Muhammad Al Jasser, chairman of the Islamic Development Bank, said: “To achieve universal health coverage by 2030, Development Financial Institutions (DFIs) and nations must prioritize investing more in health. The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is committed to working collaboratively to generate impactful results and ensure access to quality and affordable primary healthcare for all."

“Our cooperation will help guide investments by national governments to strengthen primary health care and their overall health systems, increase universal health coverage and improve their ability to prepare for, prevent and respond to health emergencies. We will work with countries individually to identify gaps in national health systems, design interventions and investment strategies, find funding, implement projects and monitor their impact,” said African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina.

Ilan Goldfajn, President of the Inter-American Development Bank, said: "Good health and well-being are common goals that bind the world together. To achieve these goals, countries and institutions must collaborate. We are convinced that cooperation – not only between nations but also between governments and the private sector – is critical to achieving universal health coverage. Recognizing the global nature of this investment platform, we are already in discussions with other stakeholders to expand these efforts across Latin America and the Caribbean. We extend an open invitation to our partners to join this global investment platform."

Note to editors

About the African Development Bank Group
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 37 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

About the European Investment Bank
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It finances sound investment contributing to EU policy goals. The EIB's activities focus on the following priority areas: climate and environment, development, innovation and skills, small and medium-sized businesses, infrastructure, and cohesion. The EIB works closely with other institutions and has provided total financing of more than €42 billion for healthcare-related projects around the world since it started investing in the sector in 1997.

About the Inter-American Development Bank
The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region. Take our virtual tour.

About the Islamic Development Bank Group
Rated AAA by the major rating agencies, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is a multilateral development bank that has been working for over 49 years to improve the lives of the communities it serves by delivering impact at scale. The Bank brings together 57-Member Countries across four continents, touching the lives of 1 in 5 of the world population. Its mission is to equip people to drive their own economic and social progress at scale, putting the infrastructure in place enabling them to fulfill their potential. Headquartered in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, IsDB has regional hubs and centers of excellence in 11 of its Member Countries.  Over the years, the Bank has evolved from a single entity into a group comprising five entities: Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Islamic Development Bank Institute (IsDBI) tasked with research and training, the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment, and Export Credit (ICIEC), the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC).

About the World Health Organization

Dedicated to the well-being of all people and guided by science, the World Health Organization leads and champions global efforts to give everyone, everywhere an equal chance at a safe and healthy life. We are the UN agency for health that connects nations, partners and people on the front lines in 150+ locations – leading the world’s response to health emergencies, preventing disease, addressing the root causes of health issues and expanding access to medicines and health care. Our mission is to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.

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