Why is Health Financing Important for RMNCH?
Investing in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) is a win-win prospect for national policy makers and their development partners. First, it addresses the intrinsic value of health and embraces health as a human right. It saves maternal and child lives and prevents life-long disabilities. Second, investing in RMNCH makes economic sense. Healthier children and their mothers are more likely to become productive members of society and contribute to economic growth and development. In addition, healthy individuals consume less health care, imposing a smaller burden on the finances of households and the government.
The way in which a country's health system is financed has enormous implications for women's and children's health outcomes, for the micro- and macro-level financial consequences of health care, and for the potential returns that can be realized on investment. A well-functioning health financing system will raise the required funds to enable provision of adequate RMNCH care - "more money for health" - and ensure efficient and equitable use of these resources - "more health for the money". The fundamental importance of health financing was recognized in the recently launched World Health Report 2010: Health Systems Financing - The Path to Universal Coverage. According to the report, universal coverage means that "all people have access to services and do not suffer financial hardship paying for them". The right to essential health services was also highlighted in the report of the High-Level Taskforce for Innovative International Financing for Health Systems in 2009.
The Economics and Financing section of the PMNCH Knowledge Portal covers five key areas of health financing from an RMNCH perspective. While there are overlaps between areas, they are presented in a sequence: from convincing policy makers and financiers to invest in RMNCH to tracking spending of resources.
- Convincing policy makers and financiers that investing in RMNCH generates micro- and macro-level economic benefits
- Integrating RMNCH dimensions and concerns in national and sub-national financing policies and plans
- Prioritizing and costing RMNCH interventions
- Designing financing mechanisms that will align RMNCH objectives with incentives for health providers, that will reward performance and quality of health care, and that will contribute to all people having access to services without suffering financial hardship paying for them
- Tracking expenditures on RMNCH to account for financial resources