As the World Bank continues to help strengthen countries’ health systems to curb the spread of COVID-19, the pandemic shows the importance of universal health coverage and the need for sustainable health financing. As the global number of COVID-19 cases continue to climb and raise the risk of a secondary health crisis, experts are increasingly concerned about potentially devastating effects on women and children.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a wake-up call, underscoring the importance of investing in resilient health systems that can detect, identify, treat, and halt transmission. It highlights the critical need to invest in better preparedness.
Health systems now face the dual challenge of responding to the outbreak and maintaining essential services.Where do we need to start thinking differently, and what can we do differently, to be better prepared for emergencies and make progress towards universal health coverage (UHC)?
As countries slowly emerge from lockdowns, they must determine the best way forward for their health systems and economies in the face of uncertainty. Understanding health financing resilience and ways to improve it will be critical for this process, particularly if countries are hit by second or third waves of COVID-19. The fifth Annual Health Financing Forum next month will focus on these themes.
Millions of lives are at risk as COVID-19 increasingly disrupts access to essential, life-saving health services for women and children in low- and lower-middle-income countries. When already fragile health systems flex to respond to a serious outbreak, funding and efforts to deliver routine services for women and children are often diverted, endangered or deprioritized, with a devastating impact on health and equity.
World Bank support has helped governments buy vital protective equipment and medical supplies for frontline workers, provide learning to children, and deliver cash transfers and food to the most vulnerable.