Editorials

New global health fund

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.322.7298.1321 (Published 02 June 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:1321

Must be well managed if it is to narrow the gap between rich and poor countries

  1. Tessa Richards, associate editor (trichards@bmj.com)
  1. BMJ

    But then nothing came to us for free. Not even water. It had to be carried a mile and a half, and boiled. “Boiled,” a small word, meant twenty minutes over a roaring fire on a stove that resembled the rusted carcass of an Oldsmobile. “Fire” meant gathering up a pile of sticks in a village that had already been gathering firewood for all the years since God was child, picking its grounds clean of combustibles as efficiently as an animal combing itself for lice. So “fire” meant longer and longer forays into the forest, stealing fallen branches from under the blunt eyed gaze of snakes for just one single bucket of drinkable water.1

    The gap between the rich and poor has widened steadily. Estimates based on World Bank data suggest that over 40% of the 614 million people in less developed countries live in absolute poverty and that average life expectancy is now 25 years less than it is in developed countries.2 Ten years ago the countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) promised to scale up their development assistance. Since then the flow of aid has actually decreased to its lowest level (in relation to members' combined gross national product) for 20 years.3 Oxfam describes the rich country record on aid as “derisory” and their trade policies akin to “highway robbery.”4 The …

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