Equitable Access Initiative


The Equitable Access Initiative has developed a new policy framework to better understand countries’ health needs and capacities as they move along the development continuum. The convening partners of the Equitable Access Initiative include: the World Health Organization; the World Bank; Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; UNAIDS; UNICEF; UNDP; UNFPA; UNITAID; and the Global Fund, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.

Country classification by income has traditionally been used to guide international decision-making, but there is an increasing concern that policies based on income overlook important dimensions of development, such as poverty, inequality, and health need. The middle-income country category now comprises 105 countries, 70 percent of the world population, 75 percent of the poor, and a majority of the global disease burden. The Equitable Access Initiative aims to develop a health framework based on a broader set of economic and health indicators to better inform decision making on health and development.

On 23 February 2015, 100 delegates from the global health community, development banks, governments and civil society attended the initial meeting on the Equitable Access Initiative held in Geneva, hosted by the WHO and co-chaired by Pascal Lamy, former Director-General of the World Trade Organization, and Donald Kaberuka, former President of the African Development Bank Group.

Subsequently, four analytical groups were commissioned to develop potential frameworks for consideration by the Equitable Access Initiative stakeholders. Throughout the initiative, an extensive consultation process engaged government representatives, technical partners, civil society, the private sector, academic institutions and think tanks, gathering constructive feedback on the analytical work.

The Equitable Access Initiative found that GNI per capita is an imperfect measurement for understanding health needs and a government’s capacity to invest in health. It recommends that policymaking should not rely solely on a single variable to inform complex health financing decisions, and suggests considering health need relative to income levels, as well as domestic capacity and policies.

A high-level meeting on 22 February 2016 reconvened members of the Equitable Access Initiative in Geneva to discuss the findings and recommendations of the four analytical teams. The four leading academic groups are the University of Oxford, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the University of Sheffield-Imperial College and the Institute of Health Metrics.

The Equitable Access Initiative report was launched on 12 December 2016.

For further information, please contact the Initiative project team at .