Thinkwell HSR2020

Public financial management challenges and innovations: Learning from the COVID-19 health response

15 April 2021

On March 31, 2021, staff from ThinkWell’s Strategic Purchasing for Primary Health Care (SP4PHC) project participated in HSR2020 session, “Public Financial Management challenges and innovations – Learning from COVID-19 health response.”

In 2020, coronavirus-affected countries explored and tested alternative modalities to formulate budgets and accelerate public spending to the frontlines.

During the session, “Public Financial Management challenges and innovations – Learning from COVID-19 health response,” participants presented and discussed:

  • Key findings from a WHO-World Bank country review to unpack the public financial management (PFM) challenges faced by countries in the context of the COVID-19
  • Some of the key innovations introduced for an effective budgetary response
  • New modalities for making funding flows more accessible and responsive to facility needs
  • Key learning points from the PFM approaches to make budgets more responsive to epidemic response’s needs
  • How to advance lessons to provide a more supportive PFM environment for both epidemic response and universal coverage of essential health services
  • Opportunities and challenges associated with Kenya’s PFM Act that was introduced to protect and accelerate the COVID-19 health response.
  • Major PFM innovations introduced in the Philippines, such as the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act


  • Chair and Moderator: Srinivas Gurazada, World Bank Group
  • Presenter: Hélène Barroy, World Health Organization
  • Discussant: Christian Edward L. Nuevo, Technical Advisor for Health Financing, ThinkWell Philippines
  • Discussant: Wangari Miukia, Economist, Expertise Kenya
  • Q&A Facilitator: Nirmala Ravishankar, Program Director, ThinkWell