Innovative Financing for Global Health
July 2, 2010
Written by Elizabeth M. Cohen
Last week at CSIS, a dynamic group of panelists assembled to discuss the differing possibilities of innovative financing mechanisms for global health. The discussion looked at U.S. engagement in innovative financing and the recommendations put forth by the CSIS Commission on Smart Global Health Policy. The panel featured Amie Batson, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Global Health, U.S. Agency for International Development; Robert Hecht, Principal and Managing Director at Results for Development Institute; John Hurley, Director of the International Development Policy Office of International Affairs, Department of the Treasury; and Susan McAdams, Director, Multilateral and Innovative Finance, World Bank.
Robert Hecht kicked off the conversation with an overview of the current innovative financing landscape. Development assistance for health has increased dramatically, he noted, but traditional aid alone cannot reach the health-related Millennium Development Goals. Innovative financing can help fill the gaps in aid while making it more effective. Citing the Commission’s report, the panelists outlined the importance of Obama administration engagement in innovative financing. “The United States has maintained a largely limited role in this field,” said Hecht, as he laid out the benefits of new funding sources for U.S. policy and global health generally.
The talk also emphasized the significance of partnerships to boost the effectiveness of financing for global health. Structuring these funds to have significant impact within the country, Amie Batson stressed, increases the value to both sides of the partnership. Communication between the public and privates sectors must occur. She ended her speech by enforcing the idea that innovative financing is a means towards health results, not an end in of itself.
The question should not be where the United States was in the past on innovative financing, said Batson, but instead where the United States will be in the future. Susan McAdams followed up on Amie’s reminder by saying that you need to first identify the problem, find the solution and then see how innovative financing might fit it. A popular model for innovative financing that has emerged is the idea of result-based financing (RBF). John Hurley emphasized the government’s interest in RBF as a means to incentivize innovation.
Hecht reminded the audience that—although they should not see it as a silver bullet—innovative financing offers the opportunity to push programs on the ground toward the most efficient and effective approaches.
- CSIS Forum for Advancing U.S. Leadership in Global Health
- Report: Leveraging the World Health Organization's Core Strenghts
- Video: The Commission's First Year
- Report of the CSIS Commission on Smart Global Health Policy