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Developing Countries: Health Services

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 17 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department has taken to increase accessibility of health care in developing countries. (158296)

DFID’s strategy “Working Together for Better Health”, published in June 2007 sets out our approach to support developing countries to improve the health of their people and reaching the Millennium Development Goals. This is to deliver more resources for health; to expand access to basic health services; to improve the effectiveness of international funding for health; and to demonstrate results and build the evidence base of what works.

Our spending on health has doubled since 2002-03. About 15 per cent. of our aid goes to health, a total of £800 million in 2006-07. Overall, the UK is the second largest donor to health. Most of this help is directed through our country programmes. For example, in Bangladesh, DFID is the largest supporter of the health sector donor pooled fund. Immunisation coverage has reached 80 per cent. for the five vaccine-preventable diseases and infant mortality is down from 116 to 88 (1994-2004).

The International Health Partnership, launched by the Prime Minister on 5 September, will help ensure that increasing resources are used more effectively to strengthen health systems and deliver better care and services. In bringing together international agencies, major donors and partner countries, it will work to make sure health services better meet individual country needs.