Development aid for health victim of austerity


The economic crisis has significantly affected the part of the development aid budgets allocated to health, except in the UK, EURACTIV France reports.

Development aid for health has decreased or is stagnant in a majority of European countries, according to a report by the network of NGOs, Action for Global Health.

Spain has seen the worst decline since 2010, the organisation noted. Madrid used to allocate 0.053% of its gross national income (GNI) to health; it fell down to 0.022% between 2009 and 2011.

Germany is also a low contributor compared to its economic weight with only 0.031% of its GNI.

With 0.045%, public development aid for health in France is relatively stable but still far away from the international target.

The Italian contribution has declined significantly since 2009. It is today between 0.017 and 0.019% of its GNI. Italy is one of the smallest contributors to health together with Austria, Greece and Portugal.

Overall decline

These figures are far from the 0.1% of GNI allocated to health for international donors.

The reduction of funds allocated to health is not an isolated trend, given that the overall public aid to development is decreasing.

“Most of the donor countries assessed in this report are reducing their development aid notably because of the economic crisis. In 2012, the overall share of aid dropped to 0.35% and only Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden achieved the 0.7% target,” Bruno Rivalan from an organisation called 'Global Health Advocates France' said.

The downward trend, however, does not affect only countries that have decreased their development budget. The “good” performers are affected too.

“This trend affects also Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden which are usually the “champions” of health allocating until now 0.1% of their GNI to health, the level recommended by the WHO,” Rivalan said.

In the Netherlands development aid allocated to health has significantly dropped from 0.094% to 0.078% of its GNI.

The only country that has maintained a stable budget in line with international recommendations is the UK. The country has consistently increased its development aid for health since 2008 and reached the 0.1% objective in 2011.

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