Global and country leaders commit funding towards improving health and rights for 250 million women, children and youth
New resources to strengthen health systems and scale up access for high impact interventions to save lives and close equity gaps through investment in the Global Financing Facility
October 16, 2023, BERLIN – At a Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF) event, governments and philanthropies have committed $445 million USD in urgent funding to strengthen primary healthcare and improve the health and rights of women and children. These new investments from governments and philanthropies are a major contribution towards the GFF’s ‘Deliver the Future’ campaign to secure access to essential health services for 250 million women, children and adolescents in the hardest to reach communities.
Today’s event at the World Health Summit marked the first pledging opportunity in the ‘Deliver the Future’ campaign, which was launched just four months ago and is being co-hosted by Germany, the Netherlands, Côte d’Ivoire and the World Bank.
Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and the United States have joined the GFF as new investors, while existing donors including the Netherlands, UK, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Germany have committed new funding to the partnership, underscoring the importance of the GFF to advancing the health and rights of women and youth. This funding adds to Japan’s new contribution for 2023 and builds on Canada’s existing commitments through 2025. Further investment towards the campaign target is expected in the months ahead.
Because of the GFF’s catalytic financing, the $800m target for the ‘Deliver the Future’ campaign can unlock as much as $20.5 billion financing for health, including $8 billion of concessional World Bank financing. GFF grants act as an incentive to align domestic resources for health, development aid, private-sector financing, and funding from global health organizations to fund the country-led prioritized health plan.
Country commitments to improving health
Country leadership is critical to this agenda. Political and financial commitments made today include:
Côte d'Ivoire is committed to reducing maternal mortality by 18% by 2025 and increasing the number of primary healthcare centers by nearly 40%.
Ethiopia has initiated a compact with donors aimed at gradually shifting the financing responsibility for contraceptive commodities to the government. The government will provide financing of 25%, 50%, and 85% of partner contributions in the first, second, and third years, respectively – contributing a total of $11.3 million USD, while partners will raise $24.83 million USD. This is in addition to Ethiopia’s regular budget allocation.
Liberia is committed to increasing its budget for women, children, adolescent health by 5% annually, and to reducing maternal mortality by a further 35% by 2030. All districts in the country must now have at least one Comprehensive Health Center equipped with lifesaving equipment, medicines and supplies, including contraceptives. The government is also supporting primary healthcare providers to give family planning, counselling and sexual and reproductive health and rights information to community members.
Malawi is committed to an annual increase of 10% in domestic resources for reproductive, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition.
A proven model for health
Currently working with 36 partner countries, the GFF supports countries to fight poverty and inequity by strengthening health systems and improving access to health for women and youth. The GFF works with countries to build up capacities, align funding behind a prioritized health plan, and unlock policies, financing, and systems that improve health. Countries supported by the GFF partnership show what’s possible and give hope for further progress that is urgently needed.
New results show that since GFF partner countries began implementation of their investment cases:
More than 630 million women and adolescents used modern contraceptives
More than 130 million women received safe delivery care and 8 partner countries increased coverage of services in the hardest to reach communities to reduce equity gaps
More than 100 million women were reached with 4 or more antenatal care visits and 5 partner countries increased coverage of services in the hardest to reach communities to reduce equity gaps
A critical moment for investment
With World Bank analysis showing that more than 40 governments will spend less on health between now and 2027 than they did before COVID-19, today’s commitments come at a critical time as already under-resourced health systems face further strain. More than 60 countries are off-track in meeting the global goals for maternal, newborn, and stillborn mortality reduction, and 4.5 billion people are not fully covered by essential health services. Shocks – including climate change – are adding to the burden.
A fully funded GFF will deepen and expand its impact through 2023-2025. The funding will provide second-round financing for 27 partner countries, support up to seven additional countries by 2025 (focusing on the highest burden and largest equity gaps) and embark on partnerships with key sectors in addition to health — to advance equity, such as through education, governance and social protection programs.
Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children International
“We need to work alongside governments, local partners and with children to create system-wide change and to support universal access to essential healthcare. Partnering with the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF) is one of the ways we can do this. The GFF has shown that they can drive up national investments in health services like reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health, ensuring that the most vulnerable receive the care they need. Working with them, we hope to support the future of countless women and children."
Christina Chilimba, Founder and Executive Director, All for Youth, Malawi
“My generation will drive our future economy. We are also the first generation whose lives will be shaped by climate change, and the group most impacted by reproductive rights. Having greater representation from women and younger people at all political levels would strongly influence budget allocations towards social and reproductive health and rights. The GFF understands the fundamental importance of involving youth: this is why the GFF is a critical development partner. A fully funded GFF will turn out to be one of the wisest investments the global community can make.”
Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, Minister of Health, Malawi
“In Malawi, women and youth were often walking over 10km just to have access to basic health services, including family planning and immunization. This forced us to look at services of how best to assist women and the youth. Now we have one strategic plan, with one budget and have strengthened primary healthcare – and this process has been supported by the GFF. We have recruited 12,000 healthcare workers who are on the payroll as civil servants. That is going to improve services at the local level. To support this, my government is committed to an annual increase of 10% in domestic resources for reproductive, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition.”
Prof Dr Awa Marie Coll Seck, Minister of State to the President, Senegal
“Senegal is a champion of the GFF model because it works. Through a country-led approach and by aligning partners behind one plan, countries can reach women and children in the hardest to reach communities, scale up the interventions that are the most cost effective, and strengthen the overall system. Achieving the kinds of gains that are so needed requires strong political will and leadership at the highest level, and partners – including donors, CSOs, and the private sector – rallying behind one plan. Commitments made to the GFF are commitments to deliver the future.”
Pierre N’Gou Dimba, Minister of Health, Republic of Côte d'Ivoire
“Côte d'Ivoire is co-hosting the GFF's ‘Deliver the Future’ campaign to demonstrate the success of its unique catalytic role and partnership model. The partnership is based on true country leadership as the only way to advance health equity – one of the key priorities for Côte d’Ivoire. This is why we are committed to reducing maternal mortality by 18% by 2025 and increasing the number of primary healthcare centres by nearly 40%. We're counting on you today and in the coming months to support us in this journey. I call on all partners to redouble their efforts and commit to the GFF.”
Christopher Elias, MD, MPH, President, Global Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
“Investing in the health of women, children, and adolescents is a path towards a better, healthier future for all, and one of the most effective ways to stimulate inclusive economic growth. Through its partnership with countries, the GFF has played a vital role in improving the lives of millions of women and children. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is proud to continue to partner with the GFF, and today’s new commitment will help deliver positive outcomes for women and their families and bring about transformative change in societies.”
Dr Atul Gawande, Assistant Administrator, USAID
“We see the greatest improvements in life expectancy when countries build on the scaffolding of primary healthcare. We believe that primary healthcare and health workers are paramount in delivering better community health for millions of women, children and adolescents. That is why the US is pledging $4 million USD to the GFF for the ‘Deliver the Future’ campaign under a new trust fund with up to $90 million USD.”
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General
“Expanding access to services for sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health is urgent for reversing these trends in maternal, newborn and child mortality. Around the world, WHO is supporting countries to do just that, and the Global Financing Facility is a vital partner in this work. We urge all partners to invest in the GFF, for a healthier, safer, fairer world for all women, newborns, children and adolescents.”
Pascalle Grotenhuis, Vice Minister for International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands
“Long established rights are under pressure and inequalities are rising. We have to step up to ensure better rights and opportunities for women and girls, particularly in the hardest-to-reach communities. To leave no one behind we must invest seriously in the ability of countries to shape their futures, based on their own national plans, and their priorities. That is exactly what the GFF does. With success. In eight years, more than 500 million women have received access to family planning, with 187 million unintended pregnancies avoided. And that is why The Netherlands proudly co-hosts this campaign and why we tripled our contribution to EUR 100 million.”
Dr Wilhemina S. Jallah, Minister of Health, Liberia
“The international community must remain laser focused on the SDG targets for health. While Liberia has reduced maternal mortality by 31% over the last six years, we are committed to reducing it further by 35%. Achieving this requires adequate financing and collaboration from across the international community. Countries must also do their part, so I am pleased that Liberia is increasing its budget for this agenda by 5% annually. The GFF is a truly effective partnership for strengthening primary healthcare facilities and has been instrumental in supporting Liberia to increase services that are closer to communities. I implore all global health funders to step up investment in the GFF.”
Dr Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, UNFPA
“Together, UNFPA and the GFF are modelling innovative, catalytic approaches to sustainable financing for family planning. We are united in the conviction that strong, resilient health care systems are key to creating a world where every woman, child and adolescent can lead a healthy, dignified life and chart their own future.”
Miles Kemplay, Executive Director, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, CIFF
“This is the first year that CIFF is pledging to the GFF. We are doing so because our focus is all about scaling solutions for health and nutrition, delivered by strong partnership platforms that are country-led and have commitments to accountability, and include civil society. It has never been more important to scale investment in women and girls. We call on all donors to redouble their commitments.”
Christopher MacLennan, Deputy Minister of International Development, Canada
“Canada is proud to be a founding and leading donor to the GFF. The GFF plays a critical role in ensuring that reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition issues are prioritized. It has a unique ability to catalyze World Bank financing for essential but underfunded areas, and is country led – leading to strong partnerships and better health outcomes. Investing in women and children is one of the most impactful actions a country can make. We encourage other donors and private sector partners to extend their support because our investments to the GFF are more important than ever.”
Andrew Mitchell, Minister of State, FCDO, United Kingdom
“The GFF plays a key role in the UK’s work to end preventable deaths of mothers, babies and children by the end of this decade. We have made progress but further advances are far from guaranteed. We are seeing gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights being rolled back. We need to act urgently to get on the front foot and save lives. I am pleased to announce the UK’s new commitment to the GFF for a further £80 million of funding over five years. This will help the Facility to build on its successes, deepen its support across 36 countries and expand to new ones to build a fairer, healthier world for generations to come.”
Tjedu Moyo, Youth Advocate, Founder and Executive Director, Lunia Centre for Youths, Zimbabwe
“No one knows the wants and needs of today’s youth better than us. That is why for young people to fully access their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and be empowered to build a future that is fair and healthy, we must be involved in designing and delivering policies and programs that meet our needs. Our partnership with the Global Financing Facility is doing just that by allowing the seeds of initiatives led by today’s youth to root deeply into communities. This is how development must be done. It’s time for leaders to listen to youth, involve them in decision making, and step-up investment in our futures. Today is just the start.”
Catherine Russell, Executive Director, UNICEF
“As we reflect on UNICEF's enduring partnership with the GFF, it becomes clear that our collective dedication to prioritizing children, girls and adolescents’ well-being, is the cornerstone of lasting impact. The ‘Deliver the Future’ campaign is our shared commitment to forging a brighter, healthier, and more equitable future that resonates across generations, ensuring that every girl, child and adolescent, particularly those facing the greatest challenges, has the opportunity to realize their full potential.”
Bjørg Sandkjær, State Secretary for International Development, Norway
“The Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF) has contributed to countries receiving support being able to prioritize health system strengthening to a greater extent. The partnership is a relevant instrument for the sustainability agenda. As founder and a leading donor to the GFF, we look forward to announcing our commitment at a later time and after our parliamentary budget process is finalized.”
Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany
“Women’s rights are human rights. And girls and women make up 50 per cent of the world’s population. Only girls who are healthy and able to make decisions about their own bodies can grow up to become educated and self-sufficient women who enjoy the same rights, resources and representation as men. The GFF is one of the most powerful tools to make this a reality. But its support does not come for free. That is why Germany – together with our partners Côte d’Ivoire, the Netherlands and the World Bank – has started the ‘Deliver the Future’ campaign. To make sure that enough money is available and that the GFF can continue its work of saving lives. This is also in line with our feminist development policy which I launched earlier this year.”
Dr Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health, Ethiopia
“Linking services at the primary care level has had a huge impact on mortality and morbidity. This was made possible because the government and donors invested in one national plan, with the GFF bringing catalytic financing. We’re building on this – shifting the financing responsibility for contraceptive commodities to the government, which is important for increasing sustainability of services. We will provide $11 million USD in new financing, in addition to the regular budget for family planning, to bring a total of $36 million USD for the procurement of these vital commodities over the next three years.”
Dr Juan Pablo Uribe, Global Director for Health, Nutrition & Population and the GFF
“We welcome these valuable commitments to this agenda from partners, countries and youth, and extend thanks to our co-hosts for their leadership. The pledges announced today are a signal of solidarity and will enable us to deepen our work. Looking forward, the message is quite clear: this is a good start – but we need to go faster and further. We look forward to welcoming additional contributions to the GFF in the months ahead.”
Armando Varricchio, Ambassador to Germany, Italy
“Global health is a priority for the Italian government and will be on top of Italy’s next year’s G7 presidency. Our Development Cooperation is active on the ground, also through a wide network of civil society organizations. Italy recognizes the importance of promoting the health and rights of women, children and adolescents above all, through the support and strengthening of inclusive and resilient health systems. In this framework and in such a capacity, these strategic objectives are coherent to the activity of the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents.”
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About the Global Financing Facility (GFF)
The GFF is a country-led partnership, hosted at the World Bank, that supports countries to fight poverty and inequity by strengthening health systems and improving access to health services for women, children, and adolescents.
The GFF works with countries to build system capacity, align funding behind a prioritized health plan, and unlock policies, financing, and systems that improve health. It has a unique ability to catalyze public and private resources to advance health and rights.
Prioritizing the health and rights of women and children is one of the most impactful actions a country can make. It builds more resilient health systems that drive better outcomes for everyone, mitigates the impact of future shocks, prevents the spread of diseases, and puts countries on a path towards development and prosperity.
With a fully funded GFF, 27 current partner countries will receive second round grant financing and support will be extended to seven new GFF eligible countries for the first time.