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Global health aid is exceedingly complex. It encompasses more than one hundred bilateral agencies, global funds, and independent initiatives that interact with an equally complex and diverse set of institutions involved in financing and providing health care in developing countries. Numerous efforts have been made to better coordinate these activities in the interest of making them more effective. The Health Systems Funding Platform is one of the most recent of these initiatives. Established in 2009, it has advanced farthest in two countries, Ethiopia and Nepal, and is currently expanding to several others.

This paper briefly assesses the Platform and argues that the way the initiative is proceeding differs little from prior initiatives, such as sectorwide approaches and budget support. However, the initiative does represent an opportunity to make global health aid more effective if it were to deepen its commitment to improving information for policy, link funding explicitly to well-chosen independently verified indicators, and establish an evaluation strategy to learn from its experience.