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Global spending on health programmes in impoverished nations has dropped in 2014 as compared to 2013. This drop came despite the fact that $1 billion was spent globally to control the Ebola outbreak last year, according to a new report by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), a US-based research centre.

The world has, since 2000, donated $227.9 billion to global health projects in economically weaker countries. The report, published this week, shows that global health funding grew 5.4% annually between 1990-1999 but jumped to 11.3% in the next decade.

This generosity saw a dip as between 2013 and 2014, with the amount of funding dedicated to health projects decreasing by 1.6%. Funding dedicated to tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and maternal health decreased by 9.2%, 2.2% and 2.2%, respectively.

Nations worldwide donate about $35 billion a year for global health. Roughly a third of this funding goes to sub-Saharan Africa, which received $11.8 billion in development assistance for public health (DAH) in 2012 -- 35.7% of the total spending. This contrasts with the share of DAH provided for South Asia (6.9%), East Asia and the Pacific (6.8%), Latin America and the Caribbean (5.6%), and North Africa and the Middle East (1.7%).

Global spending on health received a boost in 2000 when the United Nations announced the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This set of eight goals was meant to focus global aid on areas like halting the spread of AIDS by 2015, providing maternal and pre-natal care to all and reduce child mortality. The resources and attention given to these pressing areas helped improve living standards in many areas.

The report shows that trends in spending are skewed as some disease programmes are favoured over others. While $3.2 billion was spent on vaccines last year, $1.1 billion on nutrition initiatives for children and $778 million on family-planning programmes, donations for mental health and anti-tobacco programs got paltry sums of $164 million and $31 million.

Trends in the DAH provided to public-private partnerships were also mixed, reveals the report. Funding for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi) rose 8.2%, with expenditure of $1.8 billion in 2014, relative to 2013 levels.

In contrast, financing provided by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria dropped 6.9% to $4.1 billion in DAH in the same year. India is the second-largest recipient of grant assistance from the Global Fund and reduced spending could impact the country directly.

Among top donors, the US continued to serve as the largest source of funds, providing $12.4 billion in 2014, followed by the UK and Japan. Leading the private donors is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which gave $2.9 billion in 2014.

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