Guardian Examines U.K. Offer To Help Provide Free Healthcare In ‘World’s Poorest Countries’

The Guardian examines British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s offer “to help some of the world’s poorest countries to make healthcare free – starting with pregnant women and children – in a push to widen access to doctors across Africa and Asia.” According to the newspaper, the “Department for International Development (DfID) is among the largest donors to many developing countries, and has pledged to spend 6 billion pounds [about $10.2 billion] on health by 2015. Brown hopes to use an expanding aid budget to influence the way public services are delivered on the ground.”

Brown has written to several governments – including Kenya, Nepal and Liberia – “urging them to consider making healthcare free, and offering Britain’s help with the transition,” which could mean technical assistance or help with drugs or health worker salaries, DfID said, the Guardian writes. “A spokesman for DfID said the U.K. had been encouraged by the results of efforts to abolish up-front fees for healthcare in several countries, including Uganda, Ghana and Zambia,” the newspaper reports.

Britain plans to make free healthcare in developing countries a key issue in the run-up to the G20 meeting in September, according to Guardian (Stewart, 8/3).