Official Development Assistance (ODA) from OECD-member countries, including the United States, accounts directly or indirectly for most external funding channeled to health in the developing world, and as such constitutes a major component of the global health response. This paper provides an analysis of ODA funding commitments for health between 2001 and 2007, as part of an annual update. In addition to updating prior reports, it complements recent efforts to track health funding and expands upon them by broadening the definition of health to include clean water and sanitation activities.
While ODA funding for health has risen significantly over time, reaching its highest level yet in 2007, it began to slow even before the economic crisis set in and, between 2006 and 2007, increased at its slowest rate in recent years. After adjusting for inflation and currency devaluation, this single-year increase in real terms was modest at best. Still, the recent US announcement of a new multi-year global health initiative and the Group of Eight’s (G-8) reiteration of its health-related commitments at its just concluded annual summit signal an intention of donor nations to sustain focus and commitment on global health. Going forward, it will be critical to monitor the potential impact of the economic crisis on the fulfillment of these commitments, and on the level of need of developing countries.