The number of women of reproductive age has grown by 34% in LICs and 16% in LMICs between 2010 and 2020, and is expected to continue to increase at the same rates for the next 10 years. At the same time, progress to reduce maternal, newborn, and child deaths has slowed down compared to the previous decade, despite the fact that mortality rates in LICs and LMICs remain significantly higher than in UMICs and HICs.

ODA is an important source of international funding to health: foreign assistance comprised 31% of health expenditure in LICs and 14% in LMICs on average in the period of 2016-2020. The share of ODA in national health expenditures has remained relatively stable in the past decade.

How is ODA to MNCH evolving?

Total ODA to MNCH has stagnated between 2017 and 2021 at around US$10 billion. The share of ODA and global health ODA for MNCH decreased in 2020 and 2021, as additional funding was directed to COVID-19 response.

DAC donors’ bilateral funding made up 53% of total ODA to MNCH in 2021. This included funding channeled as earmarked contributions through multilaterals. The US remained the largest donor in 2021 and represented 29% of total DAC funding to MNCH. Germany, the EUI, and Japan made up a further 31% of bilateral funding to MNCH.

Despite a significant decrease in funding from the UK, overall DAC funding has remained relatively stable. This is driven by increases in other donors such as Germany and EUI, where increasing interest in global health is also reflected in funding to MNCH. Bilateral funding from Japan more than doubled in 2021, noting that around US$100 million of Japan’s 2021 funding came from a COVID-19 response-related loan to improve implementation of health policies.

In 2020 and 2021, the proportion of global health ODA going to MNCH fell significantly as additional global health funding was diverted to COVID-19 response. This share is expected to start to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023 as donors begin to scale back COVID-19 funding, while overall global health ODA remains elevated.

How is bilateral funding to MNCH allocated?

Who are the top multilateral funders for MNCH?

42% of funding flowed from multilaterals in 2021. Top multilateral donors to MNCH include GAVI, World Bank IBRD, and World Bank IDA.

How is ODA to MNCH calculated?

ODA to MNCH is estimated using the Muskoka2 methodology which estimates the proportion that each relevant OECD CRS purpose code contributes to reproductive health (RH), maternal and newborn health (MNH), and child health (CH). Disbursements that benefit MNCH were determined using CRS purpose codes for all donors except GAVI, UNFPA, and UNICEF, for which fixed percentages of disbursements were considered to benefit MNCH.

The Donor Tracker team, along with many DAC donor countries, no longer uses the term "foreign aid". In the modern world, "foreign aid" is monodirectional and insufficient to describe the complex nature of global development work, which, when done right, involves the establishment of profound economic and cultural ties between partners.

We strongly prefer the term Official Development Assistance (ODA) and utilize specific terms such as grant funding, loans, private sector investment, etc., which provide a clearer picture of what is concretely occurring. “Foreign aid” will be referenced for accuracy when referring to specific policies that use the term. Read more in this Donor Tracker Insight.

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Nadia Setiabudi

Nadia Setiabudi