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Trends in global health financing

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 20 May 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l2185

Health, wealth, and profits

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  1. Marco Schäferhoff, managing director1,
  2. Sebastian Martinez, researcher2,
  3. Osondu Ogbuoji, deputy director3,
  4. Miriam Lewis Sabin, manager, accountability4,
  5. Gavin Yamey, director3
  1. 1Open Consultants, Berlin, Germany
  2. 2University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  3. 3Center for Policy Impact in Global Health at Duke University, Durham, NC, USA
  4. 4Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Geneva, Switzerland
  5. Correspondence to: M Schäferhoff

Low income countries are still unable to fund a basic package of health services

Three recent reports give us a good picture of global health spending. In December 2018, the World Health Organization updated its global health expenditure database, providing country expenditures up to 2016.1 In the same month, the development assistance committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released new data on official development assistance for health, which are now available up to 2017.2 In January 2019, Policy Cures Research published its latest g-finder survey, tracking global spending on product development for neglected diseases up to 2017.3 These three data sources allow us to examine trends in domestic and donor financing for health and assess whether the world is on track to mobilise the financing needed to reach the health targets set out in the third sustainable development goal (SDG 3), which includes achieving universal health coverage.

Financial obstacles

The Lancet Commission on Investing in Health found that the annual costs of an “essential package” of 218 interventions to achieve universal health coverage would be about $100 (£78; €90) per head, while a more basic package of 108 “highest priority interventions” would …

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