World Bank Group Aims to Expand Health Services to 1.5 Billion People

    The World Bank Group on April 18, 2024 announced an ambitious plan to support countries in delivering quality, affordable health services to 1.5 billion people by 2030. This is part of a larger global effort to provide a basic standard of care through every stage of a person’s life—infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

    For decades, the World Bank Group has helped provide health services for women and children in more than 100 countries. A focused effort to become faster, work better with partners, and bring in the private sector has enabled the 80-year-old institution to pursue greater scale and impact.

    The strategy to reach 1.5 billion people is focused on three core elements:

    • Expanding focus from maternal and child health to include coverage throughout a person’s lifetime, including non-communicable diseases.
    • Expanding operations to hard-to-reach areas, including remote villages, cities, and countries.
    • Working with governments to cut unnecessary fees and other financial barriers to health care.

    To be counted toward this goal, a person must be seen and treated by a health-care worker via an in-person visit or telehealth.

    “Providing a basic standard of care for people throughout their lives is critical for development,” said Ajay Banga, World Bank Group President. “This ambition won’t be realized with a solo effort. It will require partners, a coalition of public and private sector, working together to expand access to health care services.”

    Today, around 2 billion people face severe financial hardship when paying for health services. Intertwined challenges, such as climate change, pandemics, conflicts, societal aging, and a projected shortfall of 10 million health-care workers by 2030, exacerbate the cycle of poverty and inequality.

    The World Bank Group will combine financing, knowledge, and partnerships to address this challenge.

    All elements of the Bank’s financing capabilities are positioned to be called upon depending on a country’s unique need and stage of development to reach 1.5 billion people.

    For countries most in need, IDA financing will make it possible to bring health-care workers into communities where people may otherwise have no access to services. In middle-income countries, IBRD will deploy financing to incentivize government investments in health and regulations that move a country forward.

    With regulatory certainty and reliable governance in place, it opens the door for more private sector investments, especially in local production of medications and protective gear.

    Strong partnerships will be critical for the World Bank Group to achieve results in health. The World Bank Group will fall short if it does not work hand-in-hand—faster and better—with non-government organizations, the private sector, and civil society. The World Bank Group welcomes Japan’s announcement to launch a Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Knowledge Hub to enhance health and finance ministries’ capacity, an initiative supported by the Bank and the World Health Organization.

    The goal to deliver quality, affordable health services to 1.5 billion people by 2030 is one of the more recent examples of the World Bank Group’s commitment to become more impact-oriented and is the byproduct of a concerted effort to build a better bank.

    For more information, visit and follow @WBG_Health

    Initially published by the World Bank

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