Health Tracking System: A Tool for Measuring Aid Proportionate to Health Needs in Countries Affected by the Armed Conflict

The relationship between health resource tracking and health distribution is crucial in measuring the effectiveness of aid in developing countries. Patel, et al. discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the main databases tracking Official Development Assistance (ODA) in conflict affected countries. Aid databases are the main and most common tracking system in aid. The two databases compared are that of the Creditor Reporting System (CRS) and the Financial Tracking System (FTS). Some of the common weaknesses is the private donors do not have to report to the tracking agencies as they are doing it on a voluntary basis. Multilateral organizations such as the World Bank are also not required to report. Only Bilateral organizations (country or governments) part of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) are required to participate in the tracking system, otherwise, if not part of DAC they could participate on a voluntary basis.

Having accuracy the health resource tracking is important in the comparative health systems approach as it could potentially improve accountability and transparency for donor agencies involved in development and humanitarian activity. In addition, it is important in assessing whether the ODA is proportionally allocating in relation to the burden of disease and broader health system requirements in countries affected by the armed conflict.

It has been found conflict affected countries are lagging behind in relation to achieving the health Millennium Development Goals (MDG) compared with other development countries with similar income and development categories. It is estimated that countries affected by the armed conflict receive 43% less aid than they should have received according to their poverty levels. This is in major part for the lack of funding distribution as donors become concern with issues such as insecurity, and volatility, limited absorptive capacity, weak governance, corruption, leakage and inefficiency. Thus, tracking ODA in conflict-affected countries increases understanding of aid flows to conflict affected countries and can help to ensure ODA is more proportionate to health needs.

– Isabel Garcia

Patel P, Roberts B, Conteh L, Guy S, Lee-Jones L. A review of global mechanisms for tracking official development assistance for health in countries affected by armed conflict. Health Policy 2011;100(2-3):116-124.

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