Editorials

“Beyond aid” investments in private healthcare in developing countries

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h3012 (Published 08 July 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h3012
  1. Benjamin M Hunter, doctoral student,
  2. Susan F Murray, reader in international healthcare
  1. 1International Development Institute, King’s College London, London WC2R 2LS, UK
  1. Correspondence to: B M Hunter benjamin.hunter{at}kcl.ac.uk

The UK government’s investment in commercial hospital chains merits greater scrutiny

An inquiry by the House of Commons International Development Committee published in February 2015 proposed a transition to “beyond aid” policies.1 The rationale for this transition was clearly stated: traditional forms of aid address the symptoms of poverty “at a substantial short-term cost.” In contrast, beyond aid policies aim to tackle underlying causes of poverty and “would be good for the UK in the short run as well as in the long run.”

Beyond aid policies emphasise the use of loans and equity investments to support the growth of a range of private sector companies. In December 2014, for example, the secretary of state for international development, Justine Greening, described a transition towards “returnable capital investments” in Indian health and education sectors.2 A month later the Department for International Development’s investment arm, CDC Group, announced a $48m (£32m; €42m) investment in Narayana Health, an Indian corporate hospital chain.3

The UK government’s interest in capital investments in the private hospital industry is part …

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