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Health

Australia's assistance for health

2020-21 total Australian ODA [budget estimate]
revised down to $577.5 million [from $681.6 million]

* Australia’s development efforts are set out in Partnerships for Recovery: Australia’s COVID-19 Development Response.

Partnerships for Recovery and Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed critical gaps in global health security. These need to be addressed in order to immediately respond to COVID-19 and prepare for the possibility of further waves of infections. They also require attention in order to ensure the world is better prepared to manage future disease outbreaks.

Australia is working with partner governments to help contain the spread of the virus, conduct public health awareness campaigns, support local health systems with equipment and training, and facilitate the supply of essential goods. We are supporting water and sanitation and hygiene services and increased community awareness to control the spread of infection. We are working with local organisations to combat gender-based violence and deliver essential sexual and reproductive health services disrupted due to the pandemic.

As health systems in the region pivot to address COVID-19, we will continue to assist partners in their efforts to maintain other key health services. This includes immunisation against measles and polio, prevention and treatments for diseases like malaria and tuberculosis, safe maternal healthcare, access to family planning and care for people living with chronic diseases.

How we are helping

Australia’s priority health investments for 2020-21 include initiatives to:

  • support our efforts to address global and regional health risks and emergencies;
  • advance progress towards universal health coverage through equitable access to quality essential health services;
  • assist countries to ensure essential disease and immunisation programs are sustainably financed and  managed;
  • provide safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines and support to health security in the Pacific and Southeast Asia;
  • invest in improved access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene and nutrition
  • expand access to quality family planning services; and
  • continue our support to partners providing high quality technical assistance on non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention and control, communicable disease surveillance and response, and clinical services.

How we contribute

In making health investments, Australia works at country, regional and global levels and supports health research and innovation.

Our investments in health are context-specific and aligned to partner countries' priorities, results-focussed, and based on Australian comparative advantage. Our core priority is to influence partner country decisions on health policy, strategy and funding, towards more efficient and effective use of resources. In 2020-21, priorities include providing significant resources for COVID-19 detection and response in our region, including access to vaccines and therapeutics alongside policy development and technical assistance.

Bilateral programs: priority countries include PNG, Solomon Islands, Myanmar, Timor-Leste, Cambodia and other small island states in the Pacific.

Regional programs: includes Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific region and the World Bank Group: ‘Advance UHC’ trust fund.

Global programs: Australia partners with key multilateral organisations and global health initiatives (UN agencies and health multilaterals) to extend our reach and influence including:

  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria
  • Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
  • UNAIDS
  • The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  • Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI)
  • The World Bank Group
  • UNICEF

Investments in improved access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and nutrition

Inadequate access to WASH services contribute to the spread of disease and lost productivity through illness. We focus on improving access to WASH in households, schools and health centres, including by improving governance and regulatory frameworks and by mobilising private sector investment. Read more about Australia's support for water, sanitation and hygiene. We also invest in better nutrition as this lays the foundation for healthy and productive lives, recognizing that the causes of poor nutrition are multiple and complex and require multi-sectoral responses.

Research and innovation

We are supporting research and innovation to develop more effective ways to improve health and prosperity in the region. This includes partnerships with the private sector such as Product Development Partnerships and between DFAT and Bloomberg Philanthropies on the Data for Health Initiative.

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