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BRICS reshaping global health and development; pregnant women and children to get free health care in Nigeria, Indian government provides free generic drugs; Kenyan NHIF to include outpatient services, Sweden appoints first Global Health Ambassador while Spain cuts health aid budget; links I liked…..

Because imitation is the best form of flattery, here’s my version of Duncan Green’s ‘From Poverty to Power’ “links I liked”:

A report on the contribution of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) on global health and development notes their overseas development aid has grown 10 times faster than the traditional G7 donors in the past 5 years. Despite their own domestic development problems, the BRICS are increasingly becoming a significant global force for financing development in poorer countries.

In recognition of the importance of government subsidies for achieving universal coverage, the federal government of Nigeria is to start paying the premium contributions of pregnant women and children under 5 years under the country’s National Health Insurance system.

The India government is rolling out a pilot scheme for a universal health package.  The pilot will provide access to free generic drugs in at least one district in every State in the country.  This move is expected to provide a huge relief to millions of poor people in India who spend a larger share of their meager income on medicine.

The Kenyan government plans to add outpatient services to the NHIF benefit package.  Strangely, this move is aimed at reducing fraud and cost rather than improving access.  Questions remain if current capacity of health service can support such expansion, and whether this will make any real improvements in access for the people given its objectives. In a related development, the NHIF has adopted capitation payment system, and has also   raised contribution rates (premiums) paid by scheme members.

The Swedish government has appointed an Ambassador (Dr. Anders Nordström) to champion its work on helping poorer countries achieve MDG goals 4, 5 and 6 (child mortality, maternal health, and HIVAIDS and malaria.  The appointment is in recognition of the importance global health on Swedish overseas development agenda and the need to strengthen efforts at achieving the health related MDGs as the deadline looms very large.

Meanwhile the Spanish government is to cut about 10% of its budget for health as part of broader measures to reduce the country’s budget deficit.

 

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Global Health Check was created by Anna Marriott and is currently edited by Mohga Kamal-Yanni