Since the millennium, significant progress has been made in tackling global poverty. The number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen by an impressive 50%, with more people than ever before being able to access the health and nutrition services they need. Countries are also becoming wealthier; the number of low-income countries has reduced from 63 in 2000 to 31 in 2016.
But economic growth hides increasing inequality, particularly in access to health services. For example, despite being the richest country in Africa, less than half of Nigeria’s children have been vaccinated and the health system is fragile leaving millions of people vulnerable to preventable and treatable diseases.
As more and more countries move from low to middle-income status, donors are starting to change their relationships with them, moving away from a focus on providing aid, or ‘Official Development Assistance’ (ODA). Aid, in the form of financial or technical support, can end quickly, overly a long period of time, or can simply change in nature or target. This whole change process is known as ‘transition’.
The impact of donor withdrawal is already being felt in some countries. As we edge closer to the eradication of polio in countries like Nigeria, money to support efforts to eradicate the disease also helps pay for the delivery of other vital health services will shortly be withdrawn. This is happening at the same time that Nigeria is also facing changes in donor support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Bank, and USAID. This could leave the country vulnerable to epidemics and outbreaks of diseases and leave more people without access to vital essential life-saving health services.
To help unpack this complex but important issue, I have recorded a short webinar that outlines in more detail what transition is, what it means for global health, and what you can do to help make sure these changing donor relationships are managed in a responsible and gradual way. We want to highlight the importance of this issue before too many already underfunded or underperforming health systems are negatively affected by these changes, threatening the worlds commitment to universal access to health services and leaving no one behind.
For further information about transition, please also take a look at Leaving no one behind: considering the impact of donor transition. If you have any specific questions about transition, or our work in this area, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected].