Global Health Funding Trends 

The sheer volume of funding allocated to global health initiatives in recent years is unprecedented. From 1990 to 2007, the amount of development assistance for health has quadrupled, growing from $5.6 to $21.8 billion. 1This expansion of resources for global health can largely be attributed to increases in public funding, especially from the USA, and on the private side, from increased philanthropic donations and in-kind contributions from corporate donors.  

The tremendous surge in global health financing has also been accompanied by major changes in the institutional landscape. Whereas the proportion of funds channeled through UN agencies and development banks has decreased from 1990 to 2007, non-governmental organizations and new global health initiatives such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) have gradually become the conduit for an increasing share of development assistance. At the same time, there has been a growing interest from the private sector to become involved in global health, establish new partnerships and provide the necessary funding to sustain global health programs. 

Within the realm of medicine and medical supplies, the dramatic increase in funds called attention to the ineffective medical supply systems of already resource-constrained health sectors. In response, the international community has increasingly turned its attention to the strengthening of health systems – one of six priority areas identified by WHO Director-General Margaret Chan – recognizing that simply purchasing medication is not enough to address epidemics if the infrastructure is not there to support their procurement and delivery.   

  • 1. Ravishankar N, Gubbins P, Cooley RJ, Leach-Kemon K, Michaud CM, Jamison DT, Murray CJL. Financing of global health: tracking development assistance for health from 1990 to 2007. The Lancet. 2009 Jun 20; 373:2113-2124.



 Background Resources

Strengthening Health Systems to Improve Health Outcomes: WHO’s Framework for Action

This document, published by WHO in 2007, emphasizes the need to prioritize health system strengthening initiatives as the world was reaching the midpoint to the 2015 goal set by the United Nationals Millennium Declaration.

 Partners' Perspective 

We woke up and like the rest of the world realized that the tragedy that surrounded this horrific disease [HIV/AIDs] was actually affecting our business as well. I remember … literally in a number of markets being told that we were going to have to hire two people for every position that we were trying to fill because long term the impact on this disease was going to mean that probably we were going to lose half the people. They were going to succumb to this disease." The Coca-Cola Company Official