Challenges in international health financing and implications for the new pandemic fund

Global Health. 2023 Dec 5;19(1):97. doi: 10.1186/s12992-023-00999-6.


Background: The failures of the international COVID-19 response highlighted key gaps in pandemic preparedness and response (PPR). The G20 and WHO have called for additional funding of $10.5 billion per year to adequately strengthen the global PPR architecture. In response to these calls, in 2022 the World Bank announced the launch of a new Financial Intermediary Fund (The Pandemic Fund) to catalyse this additional funding. However, there is considerable unclarity regarding the governance makeup and financial modalities of the Pandemic Fund, and divergence of opinion about whether the Fund has been successfully designed to respond to key challenges in global health financing.

Methods/results: The article outlines eight challenges associated with global health financing instruments and development aid for health within the global health literature. These include misaligned aid allocation; accountability; multistakeholder representation and participation; country ownership; donor coherency and fragmentation; transparency; power dynamics, and; anti-corruption. Using available information about the Pandemic Fund, the article positions the Pandemic Fund against these challenges to determine in what ways the financing instrument recognizes, addresses, partially addresses, or ignores them. The assessment argues that although the Pandemic Fund has adopted a few measures to recognise and address some of the challenges, overall, the Pandemic Fund has unclear policies in response to most of the challenges while leaving many unaddressed.

Conclusion: It remains unclear how the Pandemic Fund is explicitly addressing challenges widely recognized in the global health financing literature. Moreover, there is evidence that the Pandemic Fund might be exacerbating these global financing challenges, thus raising questions about its potential efficacy, suitability, and chances of success. In response, this article offers four sets of policy recommendations for how the Pandemic Fund and the PPR financing architecture might respond more effectively to the identified challenges.

Keywords: Global health financing; Global health governance; Health emergency preparedness; Pandemic Fund; Pandemic preparedness and response.

MeSH terms

  • Financial Management*
  • Financing, Organized
  • Global Health*
  • Healthcare Financing
  • Humans
  • Pandemics / prevention & control