WHO attaining universal coverage through alternate means of health financing

Baghdad- The World Health Organization completed the first step of assessing alternate means of health financing in Iraq based on social health protection.
Health financing is a key area identified for modernization of the health sector in Iraq. The Government has expressed a willingness to engage in a dialogue with the aim of making the Iraqi health system more efficient and equitable based on a social health protection model.


The health financing and social protection programme provides evidence-based policy and technical support to the Ministry of Health in Iraq to improve health system financing in terms of policy development, allocation and tracking of funds in a way that allows access to all types of health services, and does not result in financial impoverishment, social and financial risk ;protection, and equity in financing and efficiency in resource use.


Four high-level consultancy meetings were conducted in December to discuss the health sector’ gaps and challenges and agree on suggested alternative financing options and plans. During the discussions, key options were discussed for limited but strategic reforms on three levels. First, Iraq may consider introducing a pilot project to explore the scope for strategic purchasing of primary health services. In particular, moving toward a type of per capita-based funding may lead to important efficiency gains and quality improvements. Second, initiate change in the way hospitals are managed and operate. Making hospitals more independent can enhance the efficiency of such services with important financial gains. Also, such changes should be introduced gradually and on a small scale initially. Third, the Government may also want to improve the social targeting systems and include also health services in a more strategic manner. Several options for making such changes were explored, including making subsidized services available to
particular groups on condition of utilization.


This exercise is part of the Health Sector Reform/Iraq Public Sector Modernization (I-PSM) programme and one of the main priority cited by the Ministries of Planning, Health and Financing. WHO in cooperation and coordination with partners, including the United Nations Agencies is assisting and guiding the national experts in the Ministry of Health to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate comprehensive health financing policies and strategies based on the best available evidence.


It is worth mentioning that I-PSM is a four-year United Nations (UN) interagency comprehensive programme funded by the United Nations Development Group Iraq Trust Fund (UNDG-ITF) with total allocated funds of US$ 55 million. The approach of the I-PSM programme is to conduct functional reviews of the health sector/system with the aim of assessing the capacity of the health system by reviewing core functions, focusing on the central Ministry of Health, directorates of health at the governorate, district, service provision and community level. It covers clinical services and public health functions and also focuses on the links between the health sector and other sectors mandated to provide services with either a direct or indirect effect on health.


For More information:
Dr. Syed Zulfiqar Ali,  Medical Officer| World Health Organization, Iraq Office, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | www.emro.who.int/iraq.
Ms. Ruba Hikmat |Technical Officer, Health Promotion & Education | World Health Organization, Iraq Office
Mobile: +962 (0) 799 499 455   | Phone: +962 6 5510438 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | www.emro.who.int/iraq

Additional Info

  • Agency: WHO
Last modified on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 10:59

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