British PM Announces Campaign to Improve Health Systems in Developing Countries

by Medindia Content Team on Sep 6 2007 12:34 PM

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday announced that seven developing countries will participate in a global health campaign aimed at improving health systems, fighting diseases and better coordinating financial aid, Reuters reports.

The campaign, titled the International Health Partnership, will bring together donor nations -- such as Britain, Canada, Germany and Norway -- as well as the World Health Organization and the World Bank. The seven countries are Burundi, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal and Zambia.

Under the partnership, donor nations will submit long-term health plans, and international groups will pledge to better coordinate funding and on-the-ground efforts. In addition to fighting diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, the partnership aims to reduce child and maternal mortality, all of which are included in the U.N.

Millennium Development Goals, Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last month when the partnership was announced. They added that the health-related MDGs are least likely to be met by 2015. They added that international aid to address health is "over-complex" and "fragmented" and that a lack of infrastructure in developing countries is hindering efforts to fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases. The partnership will link donor support with existing health plans to coordinate health care activities, according to Brown and Merkel.

According to the AP/Dow Jones, each participating country has agreed to increase spending on health care in return for support from the partnership. The first round of the program will be funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to officials. In addition, private-sector companies, including drug makers, will participate in the partnership, Brown's office said. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on Sept. 26 plans to hold a meeting in New York to increase support for the program, the AP/Dow Jones reports.

Brown in a statement said, "Today we come together -- donor governments, health agencies and developing countries -- with the certainty that we have the knowledge and the power to save millions of lives through our efforts." Barbara Stocking, director of Oxfam, said the program will "only succeed if enough countries get behind it and if it mobilizes additional aid to provide coordinated and expanded state health provision".

Source-Kaiser Family Foundation