FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Growth in maternal-child health funding outpaces disease spending

Funding allocated for improving the health of mothers and children in low- and middle-income nations has grown more rapidly over the past six years. | File photo
Funding assistance allocated for improving the health of mothers and children in low- and middle-income nations has grown more rapidly over the past six years than has funding for diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

Studies indicate a reversal of patterns for funding realized during the 2000-10 period, when the investments of donors in HIV, TB and malaria research grew at more than twice the pace of spending on programs designed to improve maternal and child health.

At the same time, however, funding in these areas is growing at a slower pace than in previous years. This information comes from research completed by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington and discussed in the article "Development assistance for health: past trends, relationships, and the future of international financial flows for health," which was published online this month in The Lancet.

Even though the trend indicates faster growth rates in funding for maternal and child health, HIV funding still accounts for the majority of total global health spending (30 percent for HIV/AIDS in 2015, as compared to 18 percent and 10 percent for child and maternal health, respectively).

In most lower-income countries that have been adversely affected by the HIV epidemic, donor funding still makes up a sizable portion of health spending. In the average nation within this category, donors provide 52 cents of every dollar spent on health.

"The stagnation in funding for HIV can have major implications for the estimated 20 million people in low-income countries who are living with HIV," Joseph Dieleman, an assistant professor at IHME and writer of the research findings, said. "To expand access to treatment, it will be vital to scale up funding for HIV in low- and middle-income countries, improve efficiency and better target marginalized populations."

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