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Health Financing

All health financing systems try to follow three basic principles of public finance:
  1. Raise enough revenues to provide individuals with basic packages of essential services and financial protection against catastrophic medical expenses caused by illness and injury in an equitable, efficient and financially sustainable manner.
  2. Manage these revenues to pool health risks equitably and efficiently.
  3. Ensure the purchase of health services in ways that are allocatively and technically efficient.

* This website is under reconstruction. While we work on providing you with an improved health financing web-site please check out our publications for information on the World Bank’s work in health financing and health system strengthening. Thank you for your patience.


Health Financing Revisited: A Practitioner's Guide  addresses the major changes in global health and financing policy that have occurred over the past 10 years. As a result of the global focus on poverty reduction, new global health threats from HIV/AIDS, SARS, and avian influenza, and the international community's adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), global health policy has now become a development, national security, and humanitarian issue for all countries. Significant amounts of increased resources for development assistance, much of it targeted to health, have subsequently been forthcoming.

Cover - Health Financing Revisited (3/06)

This report assesses health financing policies for their ability to improve health outcomes, provide financial protection, and ensure consumer satisfaction – in a equitable, efficient, and financially sustainable manner. It is intended to equip policy-makers at global and country levels with the tools for navigating this extremely complex domain by providing an overview of health financing policy in developing countries and is a primer on major health financing and fiscal issues.

Click on the book title for the full text and individual chapters in pdf format.

Good Practices in Health Financing: Lessons from Reforms in Low- and Middle-Income Countries 

For humanitarian reasons and concern for households’ economic and health security, the health sector is at the center of global development policy. Developing countries and the international community are scaling up health systems to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and are improving financial protection by securing long-term support for these gains. Yet money alone cannot buy health gains or prevent impoverishment due to catastrophic medical bills; well structured, results based financing reforms are needed. Unfortunately, global evidence of “successful” health financing policies that can guide the reform effort is very limited. This report attempts to fill the void by systematically assessing health financing reforms in nine low- and middle-income countries that have managed to expand their health financing systems to both improve health status and protect against catastrophic medical expenses. While the findings for each country are important, collectively they send a clear message to the global community that more attention is needed to define “good practice” and then to evaluate and disseminate the global evidence base.

Click on the book title for full text in pdf format.


Last updated: 2009-10-01

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