Lancet Commission on "Investing in Health: World Bank World Development Report 1993 @ 20 years"

Sponsor: Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy

Location(s): United States


In 1993, the global heath community was introduced to a new way of measuring and valuing health and interventions to improve health – through an economic lens.  The World Bank’s World Development Report ’93 (WDR93) looked at the topic of “Investing in Health,” examining the interplay between human health, health policy and economic development.  It advocated a three-pronged approach for government action to improve health in low-income countries: (1) governments should foster an economic environment that enables households to improve their own health; (2) government spending on health should be directed to more cost-effective, pro-poor programs; and (3) governments must promote greater diversity and competition in the delivery of health services. WDR93’s analyses and conclusions have featured prominently in the investment planning and policy debates over subsequent years.

Distinguished experts in a range of disciplines from around the world have agreed to serve on a Lancet Commission on Investing in Health (CIH) that has been formed to mark the forthcoming 20th anniversary of WDR93.  Co-chaired by Professors Lawrence H. Summers from the Harvard Kennedy School (who was chief economist at the World Bank in 1993) and Dean Jamison from the University of Washington (who was lead author of WDR93 and is a current CDDEP Senior Fellow), the CIH serves as a 20-year anniversary research and consultative project to reflect on the importance today and for the future of the key findings of the WDR93.

Supported by NORAD and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Commission is revisiting the methods and conclusions of WDR93 in light of subsequent research findings, technological advances, institutional changes and on-the-ground experience.  The ultimate goal of the CIH is to draw lessons from past success to inform current and future policies for addressing remaining global health problems.  The Commission will report its key findings and recommend next steps at the end of 2013. 

Dr. Gavin Yamey from UCSF is medical advisor to the CIH and lead author (alongside Dean Jamison) of the report, while CDDEP serves as its secretariat.