Health financing

Global health expenditure database 2018 update

WHO’s updated estimates of health expenditure through a revamped Global health expenditure database (GHED) use the framework of System of Health Accounts 2011 (SHA 2011). SHA 2011 provides the basis for estimating financial flows with a strong emphasis on financing sources and financing schemes. Updated estimates capture more accurately the health financing reforms taking place in Member States, between 2000-2016. The new methodology also improves the comparability of data across countries and over time, enabling more insightful and policy relevant analysis to be conducted than previously.

More and better data are a public good, critical to understanding progress in health systems and the underlying trends and driving forces. For two decades now, WHO has invested in supporting countries to track their health expenditures, as well as the development of a global health expenditure database (GHED). This new release is the result of an extensive and ongoing engagement with Member States, and other partner agencies, to improve data quality.

The GHED also includes new health expenditure indicators which allows financing sources to be separated into domestic and external sources. Additional new indicators make explicit the extent to which governments funds are transferred to mandatory, contributory health coverage schemes e.g. health insurance. These new indicators aim to support policy decisions and allow policy makers and other stakeholders to more effectively monitor progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC), evaluate the impact of health reforms, and compare data across countries and over time.

For the first time, GHED reports data for a subset of countries not only on the sources of spending but also on how the money was used, in terms of healthcare functions, primary health care, and disease and intervention category.


WHO welcomes feedback on this initial release of data. For feedback please write to us.