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Lecture Series

2017 Event Details


When: Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Time: 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM EST, Reception to follow from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Location: Center for Global Development, 5th Floor
Entrance: 2055 L Street NW, Washington, DC



Amanda Glassman
Chief Operating Officer, Senior Fellow and Board Secretary
Center for Global Development

Marty Makinen
Executive Vice President, Health
Results for Development


Ricardo A. Bitran, PhD
Bitran and Associates


Priority Setting for Universal Health Coverage: Challenges and Potential Solutions



Abstract of Ricardo Bitran’s talk on November 1, 2017


Philip Musgrove worked extensively on the issue of health services prioritization, starting with his contributions to the World Bank’s World Development Report 2003, “Investing in Health.” Health benefits packages (HBPs), so central to policies seeking to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), are constructed through a prioritization process. Their formulation is therefore closely related to Philip’s work in that area. Despite the prominence of HBPs in the UHC context, formulating their contents is not the main or only task to be accomplished to attain universal coverage; it is only one of many related challenges. Others include: how to cost out the delivery of the package, how to secure the human and physical resources to deliver the package’s services, how to finance those resources, how much public financing should be allocated to health services not contained in the package, how to cover the informal sector, and how to strengthen the health system. This presentation highlights some of these challenges and illustrates them through actual country examples. It also describes common but wrong assumptions that policymakers and their advisors often make in this area.


Download the presentation



Ricardo A. Bitran is a senior health economist from Chile with over 35 years of experience as a policy advisor, researcher and professor in Chile, the U.S. and over 40 developing countries. He holds an M.S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Chile and an MBA in Finance and a Ph.D. in Health Economics from Boston University. He specializes in the development and evaluation of health sector financing reforms. Over the past 10 years Mr. Bitran has participated in various projects around the world involving priority setting in health. He is founding partner of Bitran y Asociados (B&A), an international consulting firm based in Santiago, specializing in health policy. Through B&A he has advised the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Health Organization, the Global Fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other development agencies. Previously he was Senior Scientist at Abt Associates Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he worked for 10 years. He was Research Director of the USAID-financed Health Financing and Sustainability Project. He has taught health economics at the University of Chile’s Master in Public Policy Program and has been a member of the core faculty of the World Bank’s Flagship Program in Health System Strengthening since its inception. He is author of academic articles, book chapters and research papers.



April 28, 2014


Timothy G. Evans Director, Health, Nutrition and Population, The World Bank
Adam Wagstaff Research Manager, Development Research Group, The World Bank and Member, Philip Musgrove Memorial Steering Committee


Mead Over, PhD Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development


MARCH 11, 2013


Nicole Klingen, Acting Director, Health, Nutrition and Population, The World Bank
Robert Hecht, Managing Director, Results for Development Institute and Member, Philip Musgrove Memorial Steering Committee
Adam Wagstaff, Research Manager, Development Research Group, The World Bank and Member, Philip Musgrove Memorial Steering Committee


Dr. William Hsiao, K.T. Li Professor of Economics, Harvard School of Public Health, on Health Services Purchasing and Contracting Revisited


About Dr. Philip Musgrove


Dr. Philip Musgrove had a long and distinguished career in global health, and has exerted a powerful influence on the field of health economics. After receiving his MPA from Princeton and a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Phil was an advisor to the Pan American Health Organization and a principal economist at the World Bank, from 1982 to 2002. During this time, he was a central author of two path-breaking publications, the World Development Report 1993 and the World Health Report 2000. From 2002-05, Phil was an editor of the Disease Control Priorities project, and from 2005 to the time of his tragic death in a boating accident in Argentina, he served as global health editor at Health Affairs in Bethesda, Maryland. Phil was the author of numerous scholarly publications and reports for international agencies, and taught health economics at universities in the Washington, DC area.

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