Gates Foundation Partners With WHO, World Bank to Bolster Primary Care

Gates Foundation Partners With WHO, World Bank to Bolster Primary Care

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank Group, and the World Health Organization have announced a partnership in support of national efforts to strengthen primary healthcare systems.

Launched on the sidelines of the UN Sustainable Development Summit, the Primary Health Care Performance Initiative (PHCPI) aims to help transform healthcare delivery — often at neighborhood clinics — in low- and middle-income countries by strengthening the monitoring, tracking, and sharing of key performance indicators. The initiative will bring together health policy makers, practitioners, advocates, and development partners to monitor twenty-five "Vital Signs" indicators in one hundred and thirty-five countries, enable benchmarking, and expand the scope and improve the availability of data. In partnership with the Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage, established by the Rockefeller Foundation, PHCPI also will promote collaboration, knowledge sharing, and the co-development of tools for improving primary care.

According to WHO, more than four hundred million people worldwide lack access to essential health services typically delivered through primary care providers, and the 2014 outbreak of Ebola — which can be prevented through basic health measures — was fueled in part by weaknesses in the primary healthcare systems, which further exacerbated the situation. While governments regularly track the total amount of money spent on health care and measure the coverage of select interventions, there is comparatively little monitoring and sharing of data about the performance of primary health care. The governments of Germany, Ghana, and Norway also have announced a new framework for global cooperation on strengthening health systems, called "Roadmap: Healthy Systems – Healthy Lives," which will complement the Gates initiative.

"We know that better measurement can guide smarter, more effective planning and action," said Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates. "It’s time to get serious about tracking and measuring primary health care performance, so that countries have the data they need to efficiently direct resources to improve the health of their citizens, especially women and children."

"New Partnership to Help Countries Close Gaps in Primary Health Care." World Health Organization Press Release 09/26/2015.