8.5 Does the government have a coherent strategy to tackle the spread of pandemic diseases and procedures to evaluate public health expenditures aimed at improving public health outcomes and, through inter-linkages, the investment environment?
Pandemic and epidemic diseases, such as malaria and HIV/AIDS, are a human tragedy, ravaging societies through the premature loss of lives and entrapping many others in poverty. They also discourage investment, risking a vicious cycle between poor health, lower investment, job creation and entrepreneurship and hence slower economic growth. At the same time, the links between health, education and economic growth can equally work in a virtuous way. Apart from the human gains, better population health raises the ability and the incentive to invest in education, and promotes investment, because of the effect of good health on worker productivity and because domestic and foreign businesses tend to avoid sending employees into regions where their health could be damaged and where access to health care is limited. Designing the policies that favour a virtuous cycle between health, investment and sustainable development whe faced with limited resources is hard to get right. The lessons from successful experiences underscore the importance of a coherent and comprehensive package of policies. Beyond ensuring broad access to essential medicines public health programmes need to be evaluated regularly to assess their effectiveness, since what works well in one country may not work equally well elsewhere..