Global health

At a glance

Funding trends

The health sector receives one of the largest shares of development assistance among social sectors. In 2018, funding for global health stood at US$23.0 billion, a 9%-decrease compared to US$25.3 billion in 2017 (the all-time high), however, funding in 2018 was still slightly above 2014 levels (US$20.9 billion). The share of spending on global health within total development assistance fluctuates between 12% and 14% (12% in 2018).

Global health general - figure 1

Top donors

2016 is the latest year for which full data (including donors’ multilateral contributions to the health sector) is available from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC). In that year, the largest donor, by far, was the United States (US$10.3 billion). It was followed by the United Kingdom (US$2.5 billion), Germany (US$1.3 billion), France (US$1.0 billion), and Japan (US$883 million).

The share of total development assistance spent on health varies from donor to donor. In relative terms, the largest DAC donors to health in 2016 were the US (28% of their total development assistance funding), Canada (19%), Luxembourg (16%), the UK (13%), and Ireland (13%).

Looking at bilateral ODA only, allows a more up-to-date analysis, although it provides an incomplete picture of total funding for global health. This is especially true given that contributions to multilateral organizations often constitute a large part of a donor’s funding in this sector. When considering only the bilateral portion of donors’ ODA for health, the top donors in 2018 were the United States (US$8.6 billion), the United Kingdom (US$1.8 billion), Germany (US$827 million), Canada (US$566 million) and EU institutions (US$543 million).


Note that to avoid double-counting, EU institutions are not included as a donor in the ranking of total health ODA.

Global health general - figure 2

Global health general - figure 3

For further details on methodology, see our Donor Tracker Codebook.