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The UK aid response to global health threats


Independent Commission for Aid Impact

The response to the Ebola crisis between 2014 and 2016 prompted a rapid scaling up of activity within the World Health Organization (WHO) and across the international health emergency response system and a scale up of spending to address global health threats.

The ICAI team, supported by Agulhas, conducted a review into this scaling up of activity.

The review found that the UK government responded rapidly to address weaknesses in the international response system, developing a coherent and evidence-based framework for addressing global health threats and establishing a portfolio of relevant and often innovative programmes.

The review found that the UK has been influential in encouraging WHO reform and securing global policy commitments to antimicrobial resistance. However, highlighted some areas of the UK’s influencing strategy that had less success, for example, in encouraging other donors to invest in the WHO Health Emergencies Programme.

Although UK aid has been quick to capture lessons from the Ebola crisis and build these into its Stronger, Smarter, Swifter strategic framework, it has not followed through with sufficiently robust evaluation and knowledge dissemination practices.

The review also highlighted the need for an increased focus on strengthening country health systems to improve their ability to respond epidemics and that there is a general need for improvement in cross-government collaboration and communication.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Better Development
  • Aid architecture
  • Performance management and accountability

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