Sep. 21

Financing Alliance for Health Launches at Clinton Global Initiative

by Ray Chambers

The Financing Alliance for Health (Financing Alliance), a new partnership designed to help governments design and fund ambitious, affordable, and at-scale community health programs, launched today through a Commitment to Action at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York.  An innovative partnership between governments, agencies, and organizations, the Financing Alliance’s ultimate goal is to support the scale up of the nearly 700,000 community health workers needed in sub-Saharan Africa to close the health coverage gap—saving an estimated 300,000 lives a year.

The Financing Alliance is a joint collaboration between the Government of Ethiopia, UNICEF, Partners In Health, Last Mile Health, Johns Hopkins University, Living Goods, the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Health in Agenda 2030 and for Malaria, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, Social Finance, Total Impact Capital, The World Bank, Harvard Medical School, and additional organizations

During the term of its one year Commitment to Action, the Alliance seeks to secure and leverage $15 million to support approximately 5,000 community health workers (CHW) in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Kenya or Uganda, to share knowledge of financial structuring, to access private sector financing opportunities, and to embed this knowledge into the local partners.

Minister Kesete of Ethiopia, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Ray Chambers, Paul Farmer of Partners In Health, Raj Panjabi of Last Mile Health, Jeff Walker of the UN Special Envoy’s Office, and Chuck Slaughter of Living Goods were on stage as part of the official launch.

Minister Kesete of Ethiopia reinforced the importance of the collaboration when he noted that, “The Community Health Extension Worker program in Ethiopia has been critical for our achievements in health and I believe the Financing Alliance will provide essential support to countries and enable them to find sustainable financing pathways for their community health programs.”

The Financing Alliance will assist governments that are committed to developing and investing in their community health programs to find viable financing schemes.  In doing so, the Financing Alliance will focus on A) Country Engagement; B) Knowledge Management; and C) Innovative Financing.

Creation of the Financing Alliance was a recommendation from a group of senior health leaders – including Prime Minister Hailemariam of Ethiopia, President Sirleaf of Liberia, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Ray Chambers, Partners in Health co-Founder Dr. Paul Farmer, Clinton Foundation Vice-Chair Dr. Chelsea Clinton, and others. These leaders issued a path-breaking report that found a 10:1 return from investing in community health.

By 2030, the Financing Alliance’s aspiration is to have helped countries transition from largely donor-supported models to financing self-sufficiency through a mix of sources—such as revenue generating models, corporate investment into community health, impact bonds, and revenue bonds supported by the capital markets—with a predominance of government investment of national resources.

Additional remarks from key partners of the Financing Alliance

“The Financing Alliance represents a highly catalytic opportunity,” said Ray Chambers, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Health in Agenda 2030 and for Malaria. “By helping ensure community health programs in sub-Saharan Africa are sustainably financed, The Financing Alliance stands positioned to reduce both maternal and child mortality and the chances of the next global health crisis like Ebola.”

Harvard’s Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners In Health, noted that financing remains the critical bottleneck in the effort to deliver equitable, high quality health care.  Developing and scaling ambitious community health programs requires the kind of sustained and strategic effort that the Financing Alliance will support.

“The Ebola epidemic demonstrated the need to extend health systems to reach the most remote communities,” said Raj Panjabi, CEO of Last Mile Health. “In Liberia, Last Mile Health and the Financing Alliance are working together to help the government identify financing options to ensure that the Government of Liberia’s National Community Health Assistant Program reaches its goal of training, equipping, and paying over 4,000 CHWs and 200 Community Health Supervisors, including nurses, who will provide health services to 1.2 million people. We consider the partnership with the Financing Alliance to be essential.”

“Living Goods promotes systemic, lasting impact in community health and long term financing is a critical piece of the puzzle,” said Chuck Slaughter, Founder of Living Goods. “We’re proud to collaborate with the Financing Alliance to support innovative financing mechanisms and empower country governments to move toward self-sufficiency.”

About the Financing Alliance for Health

The Financing Alliance for Health’s mission is to ‘rebalance’ conversations at the country and global levels to ensure financing is incorporated as a core component of the process to develop high-quality, at-scale community health programs, in addition to the more technical health conversations. The Financing Alliance will work across sectors, and alongside partners such as the Global Financing Facility, to ensure that this financing is increasingly ‘blended’ and includes a range of public and private sources. The Financing Alliance will work hand-in-hand with financing organizations, experts, ministries of health and finance, and local organizations to accelerate this process.

The Financing Alliance for Health is a fiscally sponsored program of Capital for Good USA, a 501(c)(3) public charity.  Donations to Capital for Good USA are tax deductible to the extent provided by applicable law. The fiscal sponsorship from Capital for Good USA enables grants and other support to be received for the benefit of the project.

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