Strengthening the health systems that provide health products and care is the most critical investment in global health, according to international survey results released today by leading global health organizations, PSI and PATH, as well as Devex, the global development media brand.
Of the 1,500 international health development experts polled in the survey, 63 percent believe that strengthening health systems is a crucial investment over the next five to 10 years. The survey also found that 60 percent of respondents rated improving service delivery systems – or getting health care to people who need them – as a top priority for achieving stronger health systems.
"Global health professionals clearly see stronger health systems as essential for getting quality and affordable health care to communities around the world," said Raj Kumar, Devex's President and Editor-in-Chief. "In an era when every aid dollar counts, we've got to ensure investments in health systems are getting the attention they deserve."
Devex conducted the survey in partnership with PSI and PATH to highlight smart investments that have the greatest impact on global health needs. The findings provide insight into the minds of those who work on the front lines in meeting the greatest global health challenges. The survey also serves as a guide for funders, agencies, companies and organizations looking to maximize their resources to improve health care across the globe.
Using innovation to solve global health challenges emerged as another important theme in the survey; the findings showed that investing in research and development was considered the smartest investment option for supporting innovation. The private sector was identified as a leading source for innovative technology solutions.
"Experts in our field agree that innovation has the power to transform health care and reduce poverty as we know it, but without steady funding we cannot tap its potential," said Steve Davis, President and CEO of PATH. "Investing in innovation enables creative ideas to emerge and evolve into health care solutions that can save lives now and in the future."
"The private sector is more engaged in health development than ever before," said Naveen Rao, M.D., lead of Merck for Mothers. "By partnering with governments, international nonprofits and local NGOS we can bring together our complementary expertise to develop and scale sustainable health solutions to improve the lives and well-being of people everywhere."
The full survey results are featured in a special issue of PSI's Impact Magazine entitled, "The Best Buys Issue: Where to Invest in Global Health in 2014." The issue also includes interviews and opinion pieces from leaders in the global health development field on topics ranging from measuring results to addressing challenges, such as funding shortages.
The magazine and survey results will be publicly released at a panel event on March 19 at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C. The event will feature panel discussions among global health development experts and explore varying topics, including what makes a global health investment successful and where to invest in global health in 2014. The event will be hosted by PSI, PATH, Devex and the Center for Global Development. The program is also supported by a grant from Merck, through its Merck for Mothers program.
"Investing in global health creates a more stable and secure world for us all by providing basic health care and services to people around the world," said Karl Hofmann, President and CEO of PSI. "As private, public and nonprofit sectors think about how to best use their resources for the greatest global health care results, Impact Magazine's 'Best Buys' issue will help them make the right choices."