Strengthening health systems
UK programmes have expanded access to affordable medicines and across a number of essential health services, including maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health, nutrition, and tackling communicable diseases. However, funding for non- communicable disease programmes is minimal, and the UK neglects health system components in their programming. There has been insufficient focus on strengthening national health infrastructure to deliver sustainable improvements and the UK’s preference to work with non-state providers has been found to risk displacing public sector provision. Similarly, whilst the UK makes a leading contribution to global health security, an ICAI investigation found that health system interventions within these programmes need more emphasis.
The UK allocates very little ODA to programmes dedicated to supporting the training, recruitment and retention of health workers. This is a particularly vital area, given that 8 million more health workers are needed to achieve UHC by 2030 in low- and middle-income countries.
Strategies advancing UHC
All programmes assessed within the portfolio of UK health ODA can be seen to contribute to the umbrella goal of UHC. However, our analysis found that the UK’s contributions towards increasing financial risk protection and eliminating out-of-pocket payments across their programmes presents a mixed picture. Recently, CDC’s own assessment of one of their hospital investments concluded that it is unclear if the patients avoid catastrophic health costs.