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CGD in the News

Economic Crisis May Take Toll on Health Services in Developing Nations (Online Newshour)

February 6, 2009

The Online Newshour quotes CGD vice president for programs and operations and senior fellow Ruth Levine's warnings that cutting global health spending during the financial crisis would have dire consequences.

From the article:

"Ruth Levine, a health economist and vice president for programs and operations at the Center for Global Development, said the Global Fund shortfall is "cause for significant concern" and serves as a reminder that providing foreign aid is crucial in times of economic decline.

"Foreign aid tends to be a pretty easy target. It doesn't have a very deep constituency, voters at home don't feel it when it's cut," Levine said. But the domestic budget gains are often more symbolic than practical, Levine said, as foreign aid makes up only a small percentage of most high-income countries' spending.

For many developing nations that aid is crucial, and in some of the most aid-dependent countries in sub-Saharran Africa, more than half of the total public health spending comes from aid commitments, Levine said. In addition, many developing countries lack the social safety nets that protect people from an economic shock.

"When national budgets are squeezed because of falling tax revenues and falling donor contributions the social services for the poor are some of the first to be jeopardized," Levine said."

Read the article