Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Little historical evidence to support cutting global health aid during recessions

Date:
February 25, 2011
Source:
Harvard School of Public Health
Summary:
According to a new study, there is surprisingly little historical evidence to justify reversing global financial aid commitments.

The World Bank and World Health Organization have voiced fears that policymakers will break their commitments to support desperately needed global health services in low- and middle-income countries because of the ongoing global economic downturn. Yet, according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health, there is surprisingly little historical evidence to justify reversing these commitments.

"In order to achieve a sustainable economic recovery, governments must first take care of people's most basic health needs," said David Stuckler, assistant professor of political economy at HSPH and lead author of the study. "Our findings remind us that there are alternative ways to finance recovery than by cutting vital health services to the world's poorest and most vulnerable groups."

The study appears February 25, 2011, in an advance online edition of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.

To identify whether donating countries reduced their health aid in response to prior recessions, Stuckler and colleagues Sanjay Basu at University of California at San Francisco, Stephanie Wang at Caltech, and Martin McKee at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, studied data on health aid and economic downturns from 15 European Union (EU) countries covering the past three decades, from 1975 to 2007. The study investigated the relationship of health aid to recessions, measured in three ways: episodes of recession, percentage changes in per capita gross domestic product, and changes in unemployment rates in donor countries.

The researchers found that there was surprisingly little evidence that economic downturns were associated with large cuts in aid, at least within the first several years of a financial crisis. Similar to present circumstances, they found that some countries appeared to reduce aid, while others increased it in a manner that did not seem to depend on the scale of the financial crisis they faced.

Global health aid is critical to support ongoing health-care infrastructure development and to sustain existing health programs in developing countries. According to 2009 reports of global aid budgets, Italy and Ireland have reduced development aid by 56% and 10%. On the other hand, the United Kingdom has protected its aid budget from cuts and Australia, Germany, and the U.S. have all made strong commitments to increasing their support to protect vulnerable groups from the impact of the crisis.

There are concerns that donor agencies will reduce aid in response to a political climate that calls for fiscal austerity in their countries, say the authors. "In particular, there is a risk that if the U.S. and EU countries reverse course on their commitments, donor countries will be viewed as 'bad samaritans' -- withdrawing support at a time when people need their help the most," said McKee.

"The financial crisis has given politicians ample excuses to break their aid promises," said Stuckler. "We found that such a political choice cannot simply be justified on the basis of the past."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Harvard School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David Stuckler, Sanjay Basu, Stephanie W. Wang, Martin McKee. Does Recession Reduce Global Health Aid? Evidence from 15 High-Income Countries, 1975-2007. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, February 25, 2011

Cite This Page:

Harvard School of Public Health. "Little historical evidence to support cutting global health aid during recessions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110225122814.htm>.
Harvard School of Public Health. (2011, February 25). Little historical evidence to support cutting global health aid during recessions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110225122814.htm
Harvard School of Public Health. "Little historical evidence to support cutting global health aid during recessions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110225122814.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins