Third Barcelona Course on Health Financing held


Participants in the Barcelona Course on Health Financing, held on 13-17 May 2013

Held on 13–17 May 2013, the Course brought together 42 participants from 27 countries for a week-long, intensive training programme on improving health system performance through better health financing policy. It was organized by WHO/Europe’s Barcelona Office for Health Systems Strengthening.

The participants included representatives of ministries of health and finance, purchasers of health services, other government agencies, health care providers, development agencies, and academic and civil-society organizations.

“Participants in the Course come from such diverse backgrounds, and this provides a good opportunity to exchange information and contacts,” commented Inmaculada Navarro, of the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equity, Spain.

About the Course

The Course reviews effective policy instruments to improve health systems’ performance through better health financing policies and provides a systematic approach to designing and implementing them.

“My special interest lies within health purchasing, especially for specialist care. However, it is good to get a systemized overview of other functions and of the big picture, in addition to learning about state-of-the-art policies in my field,” stated Monika Lipson, of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund.

The Course is built around 5 modules:

  • designing a benefit package – equity, affordability and transparency
  • raising revenues – thinking outside the box
  • pooling health revenues - the costs of fragmentation
  • purchasing – getting more health for the money
  • coordinating reform efforts – aligning policy instruments with policy objectives.

It weaves together theory, international comparative evidence and lessons learnt from country experience.

“The content of this Course is extremely relevant to my work as Head of the WHO country office in Uzbekistan. The Course so far is excellent, with very good theory, as well as very rich country examples,” Dr Asmus Hammerich, WHO Representative and Head of WHO Country Office, Uzbekistan

An overarching theme is moving towards and sustaining universal coverage, with a highlight on countering the impact of economic downturns. This theme was integrated into the Course material, and the keynote session featured a review of the Catalan experience and its health system’s response to the global economic crisis. Then followed a distinguished panel of speakers from WHO headquarters, the London School of Economics, United Kingdom and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, who shared their reflections on the challenges countries face in the short and long terms to secure and maintain universal health coverage.