9 Reasons Countries Should Grow Domestic Health Investments Now

As international aid plateaus and the world prepares for the post-2015 development agenda through events like the Financing for Development Conference and the UN General Assembly, it’s increasingly crucial for countries to grow financial resources through domestic resource mobilization.


  1. Domestic resource mobilization (DRM) activities, already underway in regions like sub-Saharan Africa, generate much-needed funding for health and social programs by implementing innovative financing mechanisms, levies and public-private partnerships. Such strategies are key to building country ownership of health systems, decreasing donor dependence, strengthening regional stability, growing economies, and working toward the defeat of epidemics like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
  2. Here are just a few reasons why now is a critical time for developing countries to invest more in their health response:
  3. 1. Increased health funding = Increased economic returns.
  4. Investing in health can drive long-reaching results. Every $1 invested in malaria control, for example, delivers a return of $20. Research suggests that a rapid increase in the investments to fight malaria could raise Africa’s GDP by $20-$30 billion.
  5. 2. Investing in health means investing in the future.
  6. Young people, particularly adolescent girls, are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and very susceptible to tuberculosis and malaria. Investing in their health helps to ensure healthier, stronger future generations that can better contribute to their country’s development.
  7. 3. A healthy population leads to economic development by attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
  8. A healthy workforce is more productive, which leads to better economic performance and a higher GDP. Research suggests that a healthier population is associated with a higher level of FDI, a key driver of economic growth in developing countries. This could lead to increased investments as private organizations recognize that investing in health is good business.
  9. 4. Citizens are increasingly demanding investments to improve health from their governments.
  10. Increasingly, health is a globally recognized basic human right. People in developing countries often have not prioritized their health due to lack of awareness of health care benefits, or their right to demand it. Many state incomes are rising, and increased income will lead to increased demand for expenditures for preventive health care.
  11. Paul Farmer: I believe in health care as a human right.
  12. 5. More domestic funding = greater country ownership and sustainability.
  13. When donor governments control resources, they can allocate funds according to their priorities. By choosing to mobilize domestic resources for health, implementing countries can increase ownership of their health response, lay the foundation for a resilient health system, and grow decision-making power to address their populations’ long-term needs.
  14. 6. Increased domestic funding = increased stability.