18 June 2015
RESULTS International Australia has welcomed this week’s release of the Australian Government’s Health for Development Strategy 2015-2020 as a positive statement of direction for Australian aid to improve health standards for countries in our region.
The Strategy contains a number of encouraging statements on both the Government’s reasons for having health as a priority in the aid program and on which aspects of health it intends to fund, including:
- Recognising that investing in health promotes sustained economic growth and reduces poverty;
- Committing to address financial, social and cultural factors which prevent the poorest people, and marginalised groups such as women, children and people with disabilities from accessing health services;
- Providing support to prevent or contain drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) and malaria; and,
- Investing in nutrition, as well as recognising the right to water, sanitation and hygiene as foundations for health.
“The Government has recognised that health is an area in which we need to invest now to avoid much greater human and financial costs in the future,” RESULTS International Australia’s CEO, Maree Nutt said.
However, with the overall aid program reduced by $1 billion or more in each of the next three years, the funding available for health through the aid program is also likely to be severely restricted.
“In 2015-16, Australia’s bilateral aid to most countries in South-East Asia is being reduced by 40%. Given this is also a priority region for the Health Strategy it will surely have an impact on the support we can provide to improve health,” Ms Nutt said.
“Rebuilding the overall aid program in the next four years must be a priority to support Australia achieving the ambitions of the Health strategy,” she added.
CEO, RESULTS International (Australia) Inc.
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