Despite gloomy forecasts, in the wake of global economic crisis, funds to health projects in developing countries appear to be holding steady, recent report by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington has said.
It noted that cuts in global health funding from the US government and other bilateral donors might signal the conclusion of an era of rapid growth.
In its fourth annual edition of financing series on the theme: "Financing Global Health 2012: The End of the Golden Age," the IHME report tracked development assistance for health from government aid agencies, multilateral donors, and private foundations and charities.
Three periods of funding trends were explored - the "moderate-growth" period from 1990 to 2001, the "rapid-growth" period from 2001 to 2010, and the "no-growth" period from 2010 to 2012.
After reaching a historic high of $28.2 billion in 2010, development assistance for health dropped in 2011 and recovered in 2012. The reports observed.
IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray said although there were predictions that the sky was going to fall on global health funding that did not happen.
"Only time can tell whether the stagnation will continue, but the global health community needs to be prepared either way," he added.
This the report noted called for the need for policymakers to stay informed with the most accurate information available on the evolving global health landscape.
It noted that many donors were being forced to re-evaluate funding decisions to adapt to a new global health landscape stating that - from 2011 to 2012, overall health spending channeled through government aid agencies dropped by 4.4 percent.
United States Development Assistance for health, the largest donor, also dropped by 3.3 percent and funding from France and Germany declined by 13 percent and 9.1 percent, respectively.
Of the six largest bilateral donors, only donations from the UK and Australia increased from 2011 to 2012.
It indicated that many developing countries with the highest disease burdens did not receive the most funding and when comparing disease-specific funding and disease burden, such as malaria assistance versus burden of malaria, it became clear that certain countries received much less funding than one might expect.
For example the low-income countries like Burundi, Guinea, Mali, and Niger were among the top 20 countries in terms of malaria burden, but were not among the top 20 recipients of malaria funding.
"For some diseases, there is a clear disconnect between funding and burden measured by both mortality and disability and these comparisons serve as a guide for policymakers to discuss, reassess, and improve upon their health spending," IHME Assistant Professor Michael Hanlon explained.
Sub-Saharan African region received the largest share of health funding with a share of 8.1 billion dollars, or 28.7 percent of total health funding in 2010.