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Open Access Debate

The health systems funding platform and World Bank legacy: the gap between rhetoric and reality

Scott S Brown1*, Kasturi Sen2 and Kristof Decoster3

Author Affiliations

1 School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Herston Rd, Herston, QLD 4006

2 Wolfson College, University of Oxford, Oxford OX2 6EU, England

3 Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nationalestraat 155, 2000, Antwerpen, Belgium

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Globalization and Health 2013, 9:9  doi:10.1186/1744-8603-9-9

Published: 6 March 2013

Abstract

Global health partnerships created to encourage funding efficiencies need to be approached with some caution, with claims for innovation and responsiveness to development needs based on untested assumptions around the potential of some partners to adapt their application, funding and evaluation procedures within these new structures. We examine this in the case of the Health Systems Funding Platform, which despite being set up some three years earlier, has stalled at the point of implementation of its key elements of collaboration. While much of the attention has been centred on the suspension of the Global Fund’s Round 11, and what this might mean for health systems strengthening and the Platform more broadly, we argue that inadequate scrutiny has been made of the World Bank’s contribution to this partnership, which might have been reasonably anticipated based on an historical analysis of development perspectives. Given the tensions being created by the apparent vulnerability of the health systems strengthening agenda, and the increasing rhetoric around the need for greater harmonization in development assistance, an examination of the positioning of the World Bank in this context is vital.

Keywords:
Health systems funding platform; World Bank; Health systems strengthening; Aid effectiveness; Aid coordination