Seven Challenges in International Development Assistance for Health and Ways Forward

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 38 (3):459-469 (2010)
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Over the past 20 years, international development assistance for health has increased, albeit for some diseases more than others. However, the triple crises of food, fuel, and finance have raised questions regarding whether aid flows will continue to increase, or even be maintained in the coming future. Health and education are often the first victims of budget cuts in times of limited funding and competing priorities as they are viewed to be in the realm of “low politics” as opposed to security and military spending, which are seen as “high politics.” Cuts in overseas development aid will have a drastic impact on countries where external funding makes up a significant proportion of national health budgets. Although global health aid accounts for only 0.3% of total expenditures on health globally, in some countries like the Solomon Islands and Mozambique, for example, 82% and 66% of the national health budgets respectively come from external resources. WHO estimates that 23 countries have over 30% of their total health expenditures funded by donors.



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