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700 Million Lives Have Been Saved by International Aid, But the Fight Isn't Over

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International aid financing and innovation have helped save 700 million lives over the last 25 years, global health experts declared recently. But the celebratory data was quickly bookended by the sobering statement that such gains could be quickly lost if countries fail to commit to continued support, reported Reuters.

"The lives saved amount to twice the population of the United States," said Gayle Smith, CEO of the international aid advocacy group the ONE Campaign. "We've shown that we can do this, and to slow down — or step back — at this critical juncture would be to leave progress on the table."

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The report, which was released by ONE, stated that international development assistance for health rose to a peak of $56 billion in 2013 from $20.4 billion in 2000. But by 2015, it had dropped to $51.8 billion.

As a result, the international community is "severely off track" to reach United Nations global health targets – agreed by 193 countries and known as the Sustainable Development Goals – by 2030, the report stated.

Between 2010 and 2015, maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa fell by 15%, under-5 deaths dropped by nearly one-third, and AIDS-related deaths fell by nearly 40%, according to Reuters.

But the report noted that donor assistance for global health has stalled for the last four years, despite statistics, such as “7,000 people still die each day of the preventable diseases AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria — most of them in the poorest countries in Africa.”

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"Ensuring that this population is healthy, educated, and empowered will yield a demographic dividend that could fuel the future of a continent and enable Africa to propel the global economy," noted the report, while calling upon donor countries to "mobilize more money for health and deliver more health for the money."