Journal Article

Priorities in global assistance for health, AIDS, and population

This article makes three points regarding international assistance in health, AIDS, and population. First, despite growing attention in the development policy dialogue, the share of health (broadly considered) in total assistance is actually declining, not increasing, if assistance for the HIV/AIDS crisis is taken out of the picture. Second, interventions financed by international health assistance do not closely correspond to the burden of disease as conventionally calculated. HIV/AIDS receives a share of assistance in excess of its contribution to the global burden of disease, and reasons for this are adduced. Third, despite the emphasis on aligning international assistance to country priorities, a comparison of how health is treated in poverty-reduction strategies and the nature of health assistance reveals no clear relationship between the two. This suggests that there may be room for improvement in the process of preparing such strategies, the allocation of health assistance, or both.