June 22, 2009

Developing nation health aid quadrupled

Funding for health in developing countries has quadrupled in the past two decades, from $5.6 billion in 1990 to $21.8 billion in 2007, U.S. researchers said.

A study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington found that as global health funding soars, boosted by unprecedented private giving, 12 of the 30 countries with the highest disease burden aren't receiving as much aid as healthier, and, in some cases, wealthier countries.

Private donors are shifting the paradigm for global health aid away from governments and agencies like the World Bank and the United Nations and making up an increasingly large piece of the health assistance pie -- 30 percent in 2007. However, this health aid does not always reach either the poorest or unhealthiest countries.

Study co-author Dr. Christopher Murray of the University of Washington said overall, poor countries receive more money than countries with more resources, but there are strong anomalies.

Sub-Saharan Africa receives the highest concentration of funding, but some African countries receive less aid than South American countries with lower disease burdens -- like Peru and Argentina. Meanwhile, two of the world's emerging economic super powers, China and India, receive huge amounts of health aid, the study said.