Population Matters

Large returns from small health investments

Large returns from small health investments

A recent study published in The Lancet finds that an increased investment in health of only $5 per capita per year in 74 of the poorest countries can result in a nine-fold social and economic return.

The Global Investment Framework for Women’s and Children’s Health — supported by the U.N. Population Fund, the World Health Organization and other partners — shows that small investments in women’s and children’s health will yield a large return. By making the additional investments needed for life-saving interventions, it would be possible to not only avoid unnecessary deaths, but also have healthier, more productive individuals, communities and countries.

The social and economic benefits would include preventing the needless deaths of 5 million women, 147 million children, and 32 million stillbirths by 2035. Nearly all of the averted maternal deaths would be in low- or lower-middle-income countries, two-thirds of them in sub-Saharan Africa. The benefits would also include greater GDP growth through increased employment, productivity and personal income.

From UNFPA’s perspective, the framework touches a key development area: sexual and reproductive health. A key finding of the analysis reconfirms what UNFPA has always said — that reducing the unmet need for family planning is a primary driver of the benefits, accounting for half of all the deaths prevented in the accelerated investment scenario.

Devex article

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