(2010), "United States of America - New US grant to boost health systems", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 23 No. 8. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijhcqa.2010.06223hab.005Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
United States of America - New US grant to boost health systems
Article Type: News and views From: International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Volume 23, Issue 8
Keywords: Healthcare systems, Global health initiatives, HIV and AIDS funding, Healthcare strategy
The USA has named the first eight recipients of its new Global Health Initiative (GHI) Plus grant, aimed at strengthening health systems in developing countries.
Countries including Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi will receive additional US government resources as part of the six-year, US$63 billion initiative to help strengthen national health systems by improving supply chain management, health worker retention, and information management, said Nicole Schiegg of the US Agency for Development (USAID).
Kenya is likely to use the additional support to fill gaps left by previous funding from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which focused on integrating tuberculosis and HIV services, but not necessarily on strengthening the health systems providing those services, said Dr Shahnaaz Sharif, Kenya’s Director of Public Health and Sanitation.
“If you have weak systems, you can’t handle [HIV and TB] – you can’t handle anything”, Sharif commented. He said the extra money would also be used to strengthen national reproductive health programs.
The US announcement was made about a week after the World Bank pledged US$54 million in budgetary support to Malawi. Ephraim Munthali, spokesperson for Malawi’s Ministry of Finance, said the World Bank money would be put towards strengthening health systems with improved human resource management and prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission programs.
The GHI acts as an umbrella for current US global health initiatives, including PEPFAR. Eligible low-income countries had to have existing national programs in at least three GHI focus areas, such as maternal and child health, HIV, TB, and neglected tropical diseases.
The grant is seen as the latest response in the ongoing debate on whether or not the decade-long billion-dollar fight against HIV has been at the expense of other diseases, and strengthening national health systems.
A 2009 study by Syracuse University, in New York State, found that the amount spent on HIV/AIDS and, less so, infectious disease control, grew rapidly from 1998 to 2007, while funding for strengthening health systems, and population and reproductive health, declined steeply.
However, the World Bank as well as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have argued that HIV funding has brought the spin-offs of strengthening health systems and boosting development.
Although the US government has come under fire for the recent flatlining of its global HIV and AIDS funding, Schiegg said the US government remained committed to funding HIV and other global health initiatives as part of the US national security “smart power” strategy.
The US is the main funder of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria, and largest health funder in the G8 group of industrialized countries, said a new report assessing G8 commitments.
According to the US government in its “Implementation of the Global Health Initiative: Consultation Document”, the US could extend the GHI Plus grant to as many as 20 countries by 2014.
For more information: www.plusnews.org