Health and development

Aid for health

village in Ghana
A village in Ghana

A key goal of many development agencies, including WHO, is to increase the amount of aid provided by rich countries to poor countries. In addition to providing more aid, donors need to provide more effective aid. This is particularly important in the health sector because there are many different kinds of donors - all with different approaches and priorities - and because many of the poorest countries finance a big share of their health activities from aid.

Sector-wide approaches (SWAps)

SWAps are recognized as one way of improving the effectiveness of aid for health. In a SWAp, donors and governments work together to agree on a single health strategy and a framework for implementing activities and monitoring progress. In some cases, this is extended to a single financing framework, with donors “pooling” their aid funds and providing them directly to governments. WHO has recently published a position paper on SWAps, and has also contributed to a UN-wide paper on this topic.
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Global health partnerships (GHPs)

There are many development partners active in the health sector. In addition to the bilateral donors, there are a number of global health partnerships and initiatives such as The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization and The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). GHPs have provided significant new financing for health and raised the profile of their target diseases at the highest political levels. However, the proliferation of GHPs has created or exacerbated problems such as poor coordination and duplication among different donors; a high administrative burden on government from having to deal with multiple initiatives and lack of “alignment” with country systems.

Many GHPs recognize these problems and are working to solve them. Through the High-Level Forum on the Health MDGs, WHO has been working to develop a set of Best Practice Principles, which are now being discussed directly with GHPs. These are discussed in the attached document.

Other related documents

"The biggest enemy of health in the developing world is poverty."

Kofi Annan


WHO and the Millennium Development Goals

WHO database on health in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers

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