Systems matter: Clinton

Bill Clinton has finally been persuaded that investment in health systems is more important than funding “vertical” initiatives for particular diseases:

“That’s increasingly in the last few years what our foundation has been focused on – what is the most cost-effective way to mobilise a national health system,” Mr Clinton said.

“You can get the universal treatment – the money’s there now, if we spend it most effectively.”

“But we don’t have the health care systems to reach out to people, get them tested and diagnosed in a timely fashion, get them on treatment and do the regular follow-ups.”

Well good. This is what the aid experts have been saying for years. It is why many of us opposed the establishment of funds like the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria and PEPFAR in the first place. But politicians like to announce things that they think their public will understand, and big disease-specific initiatives are the kind of thing that seems to fit the bill.

Published by Owen Barder

Owen is Senior Fellow and Director for Europe at the Center for Global Development and a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics. Owen was a civil servant for a quarter of a century, working in Number 10, the Treasury and the Department for International Development. Owen hosts the Development Drums podcast, and is the author Running for Fitness, the book and website. Owen is on Twitter and

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