Kaiser Report Tracks Donor Health Spending

Last week, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a report tracking donor funding for health in low- and middle- income countries. The report notes how Official Development Assistance (ODA) from the wealthy countries of the world, who are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), represents most of the donor funding going toward health in the developing world. This annual report is an important contribution to tracking the global health response and complements ONE’s own DATA Report. The Kaiser report looks at ODA funding commitments for health between 2001 and 2007 and across developing countries in all regions, not just Africa. It also includes water and sanitation activities in its definition of health which is a broader scope than other health financing reports. Importantly, the data in this report are from the period just prior to the current global economic crisis, meaning budgeting decisions had not yet been impacted.

The main points from the report are that health ODA has increased significantly (tripling from $7.2 billion in 2001 to $22.1 billion in 2007), including as a share of overall ODA (from 12.9% of all commitments in 2001, to 17.7% of all commitments in 2007). However, the rate of increase in health ODA is slowing, and health ODA experienced the slowest rate of (nominal) increase for many years during the period from 2006-2007. This slowing rate of growth occurred prior to the global economic crisis, so the future of health ODA is still unclear.

Another key point is that the U.S. was the single largest donor to health, going from $1.7 billion in health ODA in 2001 (23% of all donors) to $6.0 billion in 2007 (27% of all donors). The remaining donors in 2007 include European nations, together, at $6.3 billion (28% of donor commitments), multilateral donors at $5.7 billion (26%), the European Commission at $1 billion (5%), and other donors at $3.1 billion (14%).

This analysis comes in addition to another report released by the foundation earlier this month on financing the response to AIDS in low- and middle- income countries.

-Rena Pacheco-Theard