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A New Direction for Global Health

Dramatic changes in urbanization, global trade, and consumer markets – which occurred over decades in wealthy countries – are happening at a faster rate, and at a much larger scale, in still-poor countries. These trends have brought substantial health benefits, but have given rise to significant challenges as well.

NEW YORK – It is easy to be discouraged about the state of international cooperation today, but global health remains an area in which the world has come together to do significant good. Over the last dozen years, international initiatives have delivered HIV/AIDS treatment to millions, expanded childhood immunization, and spurred a dramatic increase in global support for addressing other health challenges, from malaria to maternal health.

International support for global health is an investment in developing countries’ future prosperity and the wellbeing of their people. It is an investment that the world’s richest countries can well afford.

For example, the United States is the leading contributor of global health aid, which accounted for just 0.23% of US spending in 2013. The returns on that investment have been remarkable. Child mortality is plunging. Millions who would have otherwise perished from HIV/AIDS are still alive. Countries that were aid recipients are increasingly self-sufficient – and have become better trade and strategic partners as a result.

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    A Global Economy Without a Cushion

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    From 1990 to 2008, annual growth in world trade was fully 82% faster than world GDP growth. Now, however, reflecting the unusually sharp post-crisis slowdown in global trade growth, this cushion has shrunk dramatically, to just 13% over the 2010-19 period, leaving the world economy more vulnerable to all-too-frequent shocks.

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