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BRICS bring new resources, approaches to global health as other donors lag: report

(Xinhua)

08:25, March 27, 2012

NEW DELHI, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are injecting new resources, momentum and innovation into efforts to improve health in the world's poorest countries, according to a report released on the eve of the 2012 BRICS Summit.

Coming as many western traditional donors reduce or slow their spending, the report explores the expanding influence of the BRICS on global health and development.

While all five countries have been engaged in foreign assistance for decades, the report finds that the size and scope of their efforts have grown rapidly along with their economies. Although G7 donors still provide far more total assistance, the report estimates that the average annual growth in the BRICS' foreign assistance spending between 2005 and 2010 was more than 10 times higher than that of the G7.

"As global economic developments reconfigure the quantum of international assistance, the world is looking to emerging economies like the BRICS for new resources and innovations to improve health in less-developed countries,"said Sachin Pilot, Indian Minister of State of Communication and Information Technology. "The BRICS champion models of cooperation anchored in their own domestic experiences, uniquely positioning them to provide health interventions and technologies tailored to resource-poor settings. "

The report by Global Health Strategies Initiatives (GHSi), an international nonprofit organization working to improve health in developing countries, was released in New Delhi where the BRICS Summit will be held on March 28-29.

The report finds that the BRICS approach foreign assistance differently than traditional donors, largely due to their own domestic experiences. The report also describes important contributions by the BRICS to multilateral health initiatives including Brazil's role in founding UNITAID and Russia's role as a founding donor to the GAVI Alliance's Advanced Market Commitment on pneumococcal vaccines.

While not all the BRICS have robust health assistance programs, all have made advances and implemented innovative programs as they work to address their own major health challenges.

At a meeting in 2011, the Ministers of Health of the BRICS countries declared their commitment to working collectively on health and to supporting health efforts in other developing countries.

The report notes that the summit will help generate greater momentum for collaboration in health and development. India, for example, has been championing the creation of a BRICS Development Bank to formalize and coordinate assistance efforts.

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