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In recognition of the enormous health needs of developing countries-most notably stemming from infectious diseases and the lack of basic health care, clean water, adequate sanitation, and food-and, more recently, of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — which call for a dramatic reduction in poverty and marked improvements in the health of the poor by the year 2015 — governments, international organizations, for-profit corporations, and nonprofit organizations throughout the world regularly provide both cash and in-kind health resources to developing countries. These health resources are not tracked on a global level, however, which means that policymakers do not have the comprehensive, accurate, and timely data they need to identify resource gaps, target assistance, avoid duplication of effort, and track progress toward the MDGs. The RAND Corporation assessed existing systems for tracking health resource flows to and within developing countries to determine the purpose, content, strengths, and limitations of these systems, with the objective of determining the characteristics that a truly global health resource tracking system must have to meet the needs of potential users and address the limitations of current systems. The study involved extensive interviews with people key to the operation and/or management of all major health resource data collections, detailed analyses of these data collections, literature reviews, and a technical consultation with experts involved in health resource tracking.

This research was sponsored by the Global Health Policy Research Network, a program of the Center for Global Development, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and conducted by RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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