Health and development: Toward a matrix approach

Author(s)/Editor(s): Gatti A, Boggio A
Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan
Publication date: 2009
Language: English


“Over the last decade, humanitarian attention to the health of the world’s poor, security concerns over the spread of pandemic diseases, and the recognition that health is a key determinant of economic growth, labor force productivity, and poverty reduction have propelled global health to the forefront of the international development agenda. Correspondingly, since the start of the twenty-first century we have seen the global health landscape transformed by a sixfold increase in foreign aid and private spending (United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon 2007).1 There has been a massive increase in the number of nonprofit organizations, faith-based groups, and private actors vying to implement programs with this windfall. This is a fantastic moment for global health; but without mechanisms to harmonize efforts, track the commitments made and the dollars spent, and evaluate the impacts on local communities – this boon could simply add to the chaos, even undermining basic health achievements.

From the World Economic Forum in Davos to the TED conference in Monterey, from U2 rock concerts in London to the annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York – the surge is on. Money is showering down on health programs like never before. But with investment comes expectations. In the past, too many UN targets or G8 commitments have fallen short, deeply disappointing people in need. At the level of developing countries, where these activities are targeted, hundreds of foreign entities, both large and small, are competing for the attention of local governments, civil society interest, and the desperately short supply of trained healthcare workers. Ministers of Health say that their days are overwhelmed by long lines of NGOs and bilateral program contractors, each demanding their attention. And all too often, these entities have come to impose their programs on the country – not to genuinely work with the country to meet its needs.”