Health financing

Earmarking revenues for health

Earmarking revenues for the health sector is one way countries look to mobilize and stabilize the level of funds available. In principle, earmarking revenues means that all or a portion of funds will be dedicated to a particular sector or program, rather than subject to discretionary allocations from budgetary authorities. In spite of the vast country experience using earmarking, very little empirical evidence has been used in the policy debate.

WHO and the Joint Learning Network are now engaging with policymakers from health and finance authorities in a subset of countries to better understand the motivations and objectives for adopting earmarks, the process of implementation, and their impact on health sector budgets.

Earmarking revenues for health in more detail

Typology of earmarking policy instruments

WHO in collaboration with the Joint Learning Network for UHC has developed a typology to characterize all earmarking policy instruments for the health sector.

Earmarking for health: checklist of key considerations

Countries that are considering earmarking for the health sector should address the following key questions. This checklist can guide discussions among health and finance policy-makers about when earmarking might be useful and how to structure an earmarking policy to ensure positive results and minimize distortions.

Country experience with earmarking revenues for health

WHO in collaboration with the Joint Learning Network for UHC has developed a new living database to compile and categorize all cases of earmarking revenues for health and includes at least 84 countries. The goal of this database is to increase understanding of the current use of earmarks.

Survey on earmarking revenues for health

As part of the collaboration with the Joint Learning Network for UHC, a survey has been developed that enables crowdsourced input to document and validate country experience with earmarking revenues for health.

Arguments for and against earmarking

There is active debate over the potential advantages and disadvantages of earmarking revenues and contributions.

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