Visualizing health funding gaps in West and Central Africa | 

Global Health Financing IHME

Earlier this week, Humanosphere reported on the overall trends in funding for global health – fairly steady, mostly flat the last few years, and perhaps in need of a re-focus.

But which countries need help the most on the health front?

That critical question came up at the April 8 launch event for this report from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s (IHME), Financing Global Health 2013: Transition in an Age of Austerity at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.

The question about which countries deserve the most aid is a complex question. IHME director Chris Murray pointed to key regional funding gaps identified in the study.

Chris Murray
Chris Murray

“If you are thinking ahead, then who do we need to help the most?” asked Murray. “Central and Western Africa and a few other fragile states have the worst health outcomes. We might need to strategically rethink what we’re doing to address problems in countries who are most at risk.”

A related paper was also published the same day in the journal Health Affairs.  J. Stephen Morrison, Senior Vice President and Director of the Global Health Policy Center at CSIS, chaired the launch event. The panel featured Murray and USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health Ariel Pablos-Méndez. Continue reading

Global health spending is stable, non-communicable diseases neglected | 

Some of the world’s leading global health number-crunchers, at the Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, wanted to know if a perceived slowdown in what had been a rapidly increasing war chest for fighting diseases of poverty represented The End of the Global Age for global health.

Funding has flattened out, the study reports, but on a plateau that reveals one category of huge neglect – non-communicable diseases.

“From the late 1990s to 2010, we saw a period of rapidly increasing funding for global health,” said Michael Hanlon, one of the lead authors of the report released today entitled Financing Global Health 2012: The End of the Golden Age? The IHME report follows up several earlier, similar reports which revealed a plateau, and even a decline between 2010 and 2011, in new funding for global health activities.

Mike Hanlon IHME“I think the good news here is that we’re not seeing a decline yet and are maintaining a high level of funding,” Hanlon said. “That could change, of course, but I think it’s fair to say we’ve ended the phase of rapid increases in funding and entered a new phase, a maintenance phase.”

Here’s an illustration from the IHME report showing, over the past 10 years or so, the overall increase in development assistance for health (DAH).

IHME Global Health FinancingSo it’s mostly good news, at least for those who believe spending on global health is good.

Whether this is good enough (relative to what we spend on dog food, cosmetics and bottled water – not to mention military adventures or bailing out struggling bankers) is another question, of course. And whether the money is going where it’s most needed is another question raised by this report. Following are some highlights: Continue reading