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.

Related Articles


"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 October 25, 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 October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

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