Health and life expectancy in poor countries have improved rapidly over a short time, contributing to a more prosperous, stable, and productive world. The United States has been a part of this success and therefore has an interest in protecting the health gains of the past few decades. In addition, the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa has drawn attention to the consequences of neglecting health systems development, as a strong health system allows for prompt response to pandemic threats and draws on the same skills and infrastructure that support routine health care. Vulnerabilities in this system pose financial, political, and health risks to developing countries and, in a larger sense, to the world.
An IOM study looked at how health systems improvements can lead to better health, reduce poverty, and make donor investment in health sustainable. The resulting report stresses the importance of the health system in making transformative investments that support health in developing countries, and outlines a broad donor strategy that can make effective use of the United States’ comparative advantage in science and technology to improve health for the world’s most vulnerable people. For more information, click here