WHO announces new investment platform to strengthen primary health care services

Investment platform “to strengthen primary care services” launched by WHO and development banks

A new investment platform aimed at “strengthening essential, climate and crisis-resilient primary health care services in low- and low-and-middle income countries” has been launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO), in a joint venture with three multilateral development banks.

Alongside WHO, the founding members include the African Development Bank, European Investment Bank, and the Islamic Development Bank. The Inter-American Development Bank is said to be considering joining the partnership with a view of expanding the initiative to the Latin America and Caribbean region.

The platform is to make an initial €1.5 billion available to the countries in concessional loans and grants aimed at expanding the research and scope of their primary health care services, “especially for the most vulnerable and underserved populations and communities.”

With the WHO acting as policy coordinator and taking responsibility for ensuring alignment of financing decisions with national health priorities and strategies, the platform will “support governments to develop national health and prioritise primary health care investment plans” and “will also aim to catalyse wider primary health care investments in support of government health strategies”.

WHO notes that the “Health Impact Investment Platform’s catalytic financing is also designed to promote the mobilisation and coordination of broader financing flows through national primary health care investment plans.”

WHO director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that primary health care “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.”