Innovative Financing For Global Health Issues Discussed At Nairobi Meeting

As more countries prepare to introduce a voluntary travel tax to help fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases worldwide, Philippe Douste-Blazy, chair of UNITAID and a U.N. special advisor on innovative development financing said at a recent event in Nairobi, Kenya, that “the airline levy gives participating developing nations an opportunity to contribute to treatment in their countries rather than depending on handouts from the developed world,” the Standard reports. “Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Madagascar and Mauritius are applying the airline levy, while Benin, Burkina Faso and Kenya have said they will introduce it,” according to the Standard. 

Douste-Blazy said that the current financial downturn could make it “very difficult” to get Millennium Development Goal funding from governments, “so innovative methods of financing the fight against these diseases must be sought.”

Kenyan Health Minister Beth Mugo at the meeting said that African governments should play a bigger role in health financing, “We need long-term financing for health and we must put pressure on our leaders to implement their Abuja pledge to dedicate 15 percent of the budget to health,” Mugo said. “Few are doing so. In Kenya for example, only seven percent of our national budget is spent on health.”

The Standard reports that “[p]articipants also stressed the urgent need for Africa’s public health systems to become more efficient” (Orengo, 10/18).

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