The Global Health Expenditure Database (GHED) provides comparable data on health expenditure for more than 190 WHO Member States since 2000 with open access to the public.
Health spending indicators are key guides for monitoring the flow of resources, informing health policy development, and promoting the transparency and accountability of health systems. The database can help to answer questions, such as how much countries spend on health, how much of the health spending comes from government, households, and donors, and how much of the spending is channeled through compulsory and voluntary health financing arrangements. The database also includes a detailed breakdown of spending for an increasing number of countries on health care functions and primary health care, spending by diseases and conditions, and spending for the under 5-year-old population.
WHO works collaboratively with Member States to update the database (Explore the Data) annually, using available information such as health accounts data, government expenditure records and official statistics. Where necessary, modifications and estimates are made to ensure the comprehensiveness and consistency of the data across countries and years. In this year's GHED update, we published health spending in 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 data also include COVID-19 specific health spending for a set of countries.
Alongside the data, we are also pleased to announce the update of individual country profiles and primary health care country profiles for countries with available data. In the documentation center, you will find the December 2022 country release note, as well as complimentary technical notes, methodology guidelines, global, regional, and country reports on health expenditure, etc.
Together with the data publication, we also released the annual report "Global Health Expenditure Report: Rising to the Pandemic's Challenges".
In addition to examining the level and composition of health spending in 2020, the report specifically focuses on the way that health systems responded during the first year of the pandemic. Sharp increases in government spending on health at all income levels underpinned the rise in health spending to a new high of US $9 trillion (approximately 11% of global GDP). Government health spending generally increased in line with the various prevention, detection, and treatment needs of the pandemic and offset declines in out-of-pocket spending. Importantly, the rise in public health spending was part of a much broader fiscal response to the pandemic. In high income and upper-middle income countries social protection spending also increased sharply as governments attempted to protect populations from the economic impacts of COVID-19. While governments effectively rose to the challenge of the first year of the pandemic, they face the further challenge of sustaining increased public spending on health and other social sectors in the face of deteriorating macroeconomic conditions and rising debt servicing. A further challenge is sustaining external support for low income countries, which is essential for reducing poverty, ensuring access to health services and strengthening pandemic preparedness.
We renew our commitment to working closely with countries and partners to advocate the global health expenditure database as a global public good, evidence-informed policy-making processes, and promote transparency and accountability among stakeholders on the road to UHC and health security.
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