GLOBAL: Great leap forward on free healthcare
NEW YORK, 24 September 2009 (IRIN) - Providing free healthcare to millions
of women and children in some of the world's poorest countries has come a
step closer, with the unveiling on 23 September of a US$5.3 billion
financing package by British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.
See also: Scrapping user fees "just the first step"
The funds, to be used to roll back user fees in Malawi, Liberia, Sierra
Leone, Ghana, Nepal and Burundi, would reportedly benefit 10 million
people - mainly women and children - and help cut maternal mortality. In
announcing the initiative, Brown said that charging the poor even a few
cents for health services "became a death sentence for millions".
The funding commitment was the result of 12 months' work by a taskforce
on International Innovative Finance for Health Systems
, co-chaired by Brown and World Bank President Robert Zoellick, and is to
include a pledge of US$3 billion from the online travel industry.
The goal is to help developing countries meet their health millennium
development goals by 2015, and the financing represents commitments
rather than cash immediately available.
More original reporting on global humanitarian issues:
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