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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


DE LOS RIOS, Rebecca; AROSQUIPA, Carlos  and  VIGIL-OLIVER, William. International financing for cooperation to develop health in Latin America and the Caribbean. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2011, vol.30, n.2, pp.133-143. ISSN 1680-5348.

The purpose of this study is (a) to examine the ways in which Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have benefited from increases in international development assistance for health (DAH) at the global level and whether the trend observed after the Millennium Summit has also applied to the Region; (b) to determine whether there are differences in the distribution of this assistance, based on the gross per capita income of each country; (c) to identify the possible effects of the 2008 international financial crisis on official bilateral assistance; and (d) to compare trends in public health expenditure in relation to DAH before and after the Millennium Summit. The study has found that DAH in LAC follows a very different pattern than in other regions of the world. The period from 1997 to 2008 was one of fluctuating stagnation, with average annual disbursements of US$ 1 200 million. Multilateral financial institutions accounted for 79% of the average disbursements in the upper-middle income countries between 2002 and 2008, while official bilateral assistance held the greatest share (61%) in the low- and lower-middle income countries. Bilateral assistance grew at an annual rate of 13% during this period, but in the year after the crisis, disbursements fell to US$ 20 million. Sixty-four percent of bilateral assistance came from the United States, Spain, and Canada, with 29% of it being directed to HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. After the Millennium Summit DAH channeled to governments decreased 30% in the period 2001-2006, and its share of public health expenditure in the region was 0.3% for the same period, with an equally marginal proportion in relation to total health expenditure for 2008 (0.37%; US$ 2 per capita). The study concludes that after the Millennium Summit, DAH in LAC did not grow nor did it equal the trends prior to 2000, and public health expenditure followed its historical growth trend, without further increases in relation to the regional gross domestic product. Given these realities and the fact that LAC is the world's most unequal region, but not its poorest, it is imperative to reconsider the concepts, management, and delivery of cooperation in the development of health, using innovative approaches and alternative financing mechanisms that respond more effectively to the realities of the region.

Keywords : International cooperation; health planning support; health economics; world health; Americas.

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