Summary of publication
Established by DFAT and the World Bank in June 2015, The Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) for Integrating Donor Financed Health Programs supports thirteen countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific strengthen their health systems to accelerate progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) while simultaneously managing the transition away from external finance for priority health programs.
The MDTF generates and uses strong health financing analytics and knowledge-based technical assistance to drive policy dialogue and health sector reform. It also uses Australian aid program funds to leverage and influence the design of sizeable health sector loans and grants from other agencies.
Conducted four-years into this investment, the independent Mid-term review assesses the continued relevance of the MDTF investment and the progress towards achieving its planned objectives. Since its inception, the MDTF has attracted additional donors and expanded to several other countries in other regions but this review and its associated Management Response applies only to DFAT-supported activities.
The review found that the partnership established with the World Bank is effective and influential, and that DFAT’s investment has been influential in expanding the World Bank’s role in health sectors in the region. In several Pacific Island Countries, despite many years of donor inputs, some Ministries of Health have had little idea on how health budgets were actually spent. The work of the MDTF has made rational decision making possible and at very low cost. In the Southeast Asian countries and PNG, the review confirmed that using health financing as an entry point can act as a springboard to address systemic health service delivery issues in a way not often seen in discrete health projects.
In the three countries visited as part of the MTR, there was clear evidence of either directly attributable impact or robust foundational work for likely future impact. The review found that there are increasing opportunities for the in-country work of the MDTF to influence a range of global initiatives concerned with partner coordination and Universal Health Coverage.