Gordon Brown has responded to a letter sent by NGOs calling for action following the pledge to help poor countries to remove user fees for basic healthcare made at the United Nations General Assembly in September. Mr Brown stated:
‘I strongly share your view about the need to sustain the international momentum behind the provision of free health care in developing countries. The UK has made this a priority, and we have been at the forefront of efforts to ensure that people in the world’s poorest countries are not denied access to basic health services’.
He describes the steps that the UK government are taking to move this issue forward, including specific financial support for the Sierra Leone government and moving quickly to set up a ‘Centre for Progressive Financing’ to provide a ‘strong, progressive and independent source of policy support’ to help countries to secure diversified funding streams for basic health services and to remove user fees.
Clearly the pressure from NGOs like RESULTS and our partners is paying off in this campaign. User fees present a massive barrier to poor people accessing basic healthcare in the developing world, and it is therefore crucial that we keep pressing our governments and international institutions such as the World Health Organisation and the World Bank to uphold their pledges.