Author(s): Authors Wagstaff A, Claeson M, Hecht RM, Gottret P, Fang Q
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Excerpt In the 1990s, the international community recognized the importance of health in development. In a period when overall official development assistance declined, development assistance to health rose in real terms. World Bank lending for health increased, with a doubling of the share of International Development Association disbursements going to health (OECD Development Assistance Committee 2000). The 1990s saw an increased global concern over the debt in the developing world, fueled in part by a perception that interest payments were constraining government health expenditures in developing countries. The enhanced Highly Indebted Poor Country Initiative, spearheaded by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in response to the unsustainable debt burden of the poorest countries, was explicitly geared to channel freed resources into the health and other social sectors. The Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers submitted by governments of developing countries seek debt relief or concessional (low-interest) International Development Association loans to set out their plans for fighting poverty on all fronts, including health. The 1990s also saw the development of major new global health initiatives and partnerships, including the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization; the Stop TB Partnership; the Roll Back Malaria Partnership; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition. A range of new not-for-profit organizations were set up to spur the accelerated discovery and uptake in developing countries of low-cost health technologies to address the diseases of the poor; these organizations included the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, the Medicines for Malaria Venture, the Global Alliance for Tuberculosis, and the International Trachoma Initiative. In addition, the scale of philanthropic involvement in international health increased, with the launch of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Packard Foundation and the continued attention to global health issues by such established entities as the Rockefeller Foundation. These initiatives brought not only new resources—funds, ideas, energy, and mechanisms—but also new challenges to harmonization in the attempt to coordinate and link global goals with local actions in the fight against disease, death, and malnutrition in the developing world. As the 1990s closed, the international community decided that even more needed to be done. At the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2001, heads of 147 states endorsed the MDGs, nearly half of which concern different aspects of health—directly or indirectly (box 9.1). Several other goals are indirectly related to health—for example, the goals on education and gender. Gender equality is considered important to promoting good health among children. Other health outcomes than those included in the MDGs measure progress on health—for example, targets related to noncommunicable diseases. These targets are referred to as the MDG plus and are included in national priority setting, especially in many middle-income countries. Copyright © 2006, The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank Group.
This article was published in Millennium Development Goals for Health: What Will It Take to Accelerate Progress?
and referenced in Business and Economics Journal