Since the Millennium, huge progress has been made in tackling global poverty. The number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen by an impressive 50%, and the number of Low Income Countries has reduced from 63 in 2000 to 31 in 2016.
As more and more countries move from low to middle-income status, international donors are starting to change their relationships with them. When countries achieve middle-income status, they also start to lose eligibility for financial support. If done too fast or in an uncoordinated way, this ‘transition’ to new aid relationships poses a huge risk to health services, and many countries will struggle to fund their health systems from scarce domestic resources, putting lives – especially those of the poorest – at risk.
The impact of donor withdrawal is already being felt in some countries with high TB burdens in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In Romania, funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria will end in 2018. And as we edge closer to the eradication of polio, money to support efforts to eradicate the disease that also help pay for the delivery of other vital health services will shortly be withdrawn. As a result, many countries will become more vulnerable to epidemics and outbreaks of diseases like measles and diphtheria.
In order to achieve the Global Goals by 2030, the Department for International Development’s policies must focus on coordinated and sustainable transition, to help manage these changing aid relationships in a responsible and gradual way.
Join us in pushing the UK Government to prioritise transition policies; to publish a framework for this process; and to have a named high-level person in the Department to be responsible for it.