The financial repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic on health systems around the world are bound to be significant and wide-ranging, impacting across all traditional health funding sources. While health expenditures on coronavirus-related care may have risen as countries surge to respond, this is accompanied by a sharp drop in spending on other conditions. In the long run though, pressures on health budgets are likely to grow as governments and health insurance schemes are hit by decreasing tax revenues and rising unemployment. External aid, which supports health spending across many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), may also drop as donor countries face domestic pressures and reprioritise resources.
At the same time, the pandemic has placed health at the centre of political and public debates across the globe, and the disproportionate impact of the crisis on patients and other health services, including cancer care, highlights the interconnectedness of health systems’ capacity to address health emergencies and the need to scale up action and investments towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC). In this sense, there may be a unique window of opportunity to muster the current political focus and attract public, private and international interest to bridge the investment gap in cancer control, as a key step towards the progressive realisation of UHC.
In this context, it is paramount the cancer community engages with the health financing debates and is empowered to frame the case for investment in cancer control as a component of both the UHC and health security agendas.
This third and final dialogue in the series focused on the economic impact of COVID-19 and strategies for the cancer community to learn from this crisis towards more sustainable health financing models, which protect against future emergencies while sustaining essential service coverage, including cancer care.
Andrea Feigl, Founder and Executive Director, Health Finance Institute
Linda Gibbs, Oncology Lead, Central and Eastern Europe, Pfizer
Anja Nitzsche, Head, Resource Mobilisation, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Penny Dash, Senior Partner and Lead for Healthcare in Europe, McKinsey & Company
Cary Adams, Chief Executive Officer, Union for International Cancer Control (UICC)