Giving Compass' Take:

• Ilze Melngailis explains that COVID-19 has put extra pressure on world leaders to sustain universal health care, which can only be accomplished through creative funding.

• How has the pandemic commandeered a significant amount of funding for health care? What are you doing to help develop and sustain universal health care strategies during COVID-19? 

• Learn about how you can support frugal innovation during the COVID-19 crisis.

Less than one year ago, nations around the globe came together to adopt a historic high-level political declaration: The landmark document affirmed the right of citizens to access essential healthcare without suffering financial hardship. The Universal Health Coverage (UHC) declaration aims to move the world closer to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—which envision a healthy future for everyone, everywhere—through stronger health systems and high-impact health interventions for women and children. This work bolsters the World Health Organization’s efforts to ensure that 1 billion people have affordable health coverage by 2023.

World leaders lauded the move, emphasizing health’s central role in human progress and prosperity. Yet the World Bank estimates an additional $176 billion annually is needed to make UHC a reality in the world’s poorest countries. Resources are needed to hire and train health workers, expand insurance, advance digital health care delivery, and improve the quality of care. The stark fiscal reality is that current health spending has been largely directed to the COVID-19 pandemic response and the world economy is sliding into recession.

Government continues to bear primary responsibility for connecting people with affordable, quality healthcare. Yet many health expenditures are inefficient and a profound public sector healthcare funding gap persists. The added challenge of this aggressive timeline requires renewed urgency to mobilize capital at scale. As a result, creative health finance models are vital.

Pfizer, in partnership with the Global Development Incubator at USAID, has been leading conversations among healthcare financing experts to design and launch a multi-stakeholder initiative to meet these needs. This research-driven process has revealed that impact investors have a unique opportunity to use blended finance tools to fund healthcare innovation while reducing risk.

Read the full article about how to sustain universal health care by Ilze Melngailis at United Nations Foundation.