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Results or Rhetoric: What You Didn’t Know About Europe’s Aid for Health

November 14, 2012

This article originally appeared on the Action for Global Health blog on November 14, 2012.

At Action for Global Health we believe that everyone has the right to access healthcare without the threat of financial hardship, no matter where they are born or where they live. That is why several months ago we and the Medical Mission Institute (MMI) began rigorous new research into Official Development Assistance (ODA) for health to examine what the real picture is. The resulting research is being launched today at the European Parliament in a report entitled Results or Rhetoric: What you didn’t know about Europe’s Aid for Health.

Our findings show that many of Europe’s biggest economies are not living up to their commitments on ODA and that many are also not reaching the 0.1 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) target for global health, set by the WHO a decade ago. What is perhaps most worrying from a health perspective is that not only is the volume of aid being cut by many EU countries, but the percentage of aid donated to health projects and infrastructure is also being squeezed, putting the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable at risk.  We are also very concerned about the increasing use of loads instead of grants by countries like France and Germany – loans that many low income countries may struggle to pay back in the future.

Our report culminates in a number of recommendations to donors, the OECD and civil society.

You can read our full report from Wednesday at: We will also have a two-page summary of our findings for the EU Institutions.  

AfGH ODA for Health Tracker Tool

For those who are looking for an easy way to visualise our findings, we have developed an exciting new online tool which allows people to see how much their country is spending on aid for health and where its development priorities lie.

At the click of a button, interactive maps will help you to view the performance of European countries, where priorities lie for each government and the ways that governments are providing aid, both bilaterally and multilaterally. This tool is being launched this week and can be found on our website at:  

AfGH Film: The Transformative Power of Aid

In 2012, AfGH travelled to Mozambique where we saw for ourselves the positive effects of investment in global health, as well as the results of the remaining funding gap which currently leaves large portions of population without access to adequate health care. We believe that this film helps to bring some of the messages of our report to life. You can watch it here on YouTube.

We will be using the report and all of the tools we have developed in our advocacy work throughout coming months, urging our governments to maintain their commitments to health infrastructure and programmes. The EU Institutions, and many of its member states, have publically confirmed their commitments to development and health goals. Despite the economic crisis that Europe faces, we must stick to those targets and avoid trying to deal with our own domestic crises at the expense of the poorest. 

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