Global Health Funding Slows as Nations Cut Back on Donations

Global health funding barely grew last year as the U.S. and other nations cut their donations to programs in developing nations, a study found.

Development assistance for health increased 2.5 percent to $28.1 billion last year after expanding at an average pace of 11 percent a year from 2001 to 2010, according to a report today by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a research unit at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Increased spending by the GAVI Alliance, a funder of vaccines backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the United Nations Children’s Fund, or Unicef, made up for lower contributions from the U.S., France and Germany last year, the institute said.

“There were predictions that the sky was going to fall on global health funding, but that didn’t happen,” Christopher Murray, the institute’s director, said in a statement. Still, “projections for further cutbacks in development assistance do not augur well for a return to the rapid growth that punctuated the 2001 to 2010 era,” according to the report.

Donations from governments dropped 4.4 percent last year, according to the report. The U.S., the largest funder of global health, cut its contributions by 3.3 percent, while France and Germany reduced donations by 13 percent and 9.1 percent respectively, the report said. The U.K. and Australia were the only two nations among the largest six bilateral donors to increase funding.

Spending by GAVI jumped 42 percent to $1.8 billion last year, according to the report.

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