This blog was originally posted on the World Bank Group's Investing in Health blog series.
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year, and reflect on several notable events from 2015 - a year of remarkable progress in global health, and remarkable expansion for the World Bank Group's health, nutrition and population portfolio, which grew to more than $10 billion.
With the Sustainable Development Goals now endorsed by world leaders and the 2030 Agenda underway, at the World Bank Group we are forging ahead with renewed vigor in our work to achieve universal health coverage, end preventable maternal and child deaths, eliminate under-nutrition, and leverage demographic transitions for better health and economic development.
The launch of the Global Financing Facility for Every Woman Every Child (GFF) last July ushered in a new era in how we grow development financing for health, with a focus on mobilizing domestic and international, public and private resources, aligned behind country-led plans. The GFF's model of smart, scaled, and sustainable financing will help secure access to dignified, quality essential care for every woman, every child and every citizen by 2030.
A World Bank Group-World Health Organization (WHO) study released in June found that 400 million people lack access to essential health services - a wake-up call for all of us who are working for greater equity and financial protection in health services. But global demand and momentum to achieve universal health coverage has never been stronger, and I'm confident that working together we can make significant progress toward this goal in 2016.
Throughout 2015, the World Bank Group worked closely with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and the international community to help the three countries bring the Ebola epidemic to an end, secure the path to recovery, and invest in stronger, more effective health systems. This continues to be a top priority for our work in 2016.
Ebola made clear that we neglect, at our peril, the persistent threat of pandemics. Drawing on the lessons of Ebola, the World Bank Group, WHO and other partners are accelerating our efforts to strengthen pandemic preparedness and response, including preparing to launch the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) so that the next time a severe outbreak happens, the world can mobilize resources much more swiftly to save lives and protect economies.
I hope you'll take a moment to look at a few of the following highlights of our work in global health over the past year. If 2015 was a full and productive year, 2016 promises to be even more challenging and rewarding. On behalf of all of my HNP Global Practice colleagues at the World Bank Group, thank you for your partnership and I look forward to further collaboration in the year ahead.
With best wishes,
Dr. Tim Evans
Senior Director, Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice
World Bank Group