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Spending on health: A global overview

Fact sheet N°319
April 2012


Total global expenditure for health1 US$ 6.5 trillion 
Total global expenditure for health per person per year US$ 948
Country with highest total spending per person per year on health United States (US$ 8362)
Country with lowest total spending per person per year on health Eritrea (US$ 12)
Country with highest government spending per person per year on health Luxembourg (US$ 6906)
Country with lowest government spending per person per year on health Myanmar (US$ 2)
Country with highest annual out-of-pocket household spending on health Switzerland (US$ 2412)
Country with lowest annual out-of-pocket household spending on health Kiribati (US$ 0.2)
Average amount spent per person per year on health in countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) US$ 4380
Percentage of the world's population living in OECD countries 18%
Percentage of the world's total financial resources devoted to health currently spent in OECD countries 84%
WHO estimate of minimum spending per person per year needed to provide basic, life-saving services US$ 44
Number of WHO Member States where health spending – including spending by government, households and the private sector and funds provided by external donors – is lower than US$ 50 per person per year 34
Number of WHO Member States where health spending is lower than US$ 20 per person per year 7
Percentage of funds spent on health in WHO's Africa Region that has been provided by donors 11%

What WHO is doing in the area of health systems financing

WHO works with countries to devise ways of raising more funds for health equitably, to use the available funds efficiently, and to monitor the use of funds. It works with the international community to try to raise more, and more predictable funds for health.

Many countries need to use available funds more efficiently and raise more funds from domestic sources, but these measures would be insufficient to fill the current gap in the poorest countries. Only an increased and predictable flow of donor funding will allow them to meet basic health needs in the short to medium term.

Fig 1: Wealth and health expenditure are correlated (2009)

Graph showing the correlation between wealth and health expenditure 2009

Fig 2: Correlation between expenditure on health and outcomes (2009)

Graph showing the correlation between expenditure on health and outcomes 2009

Fig: DALYs lost by World Bank income region projected 2005

Graph showing DALYs lost by World Bank income region projected 2005

Note: The Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALY) is a unit measuring the amount of health lost due to disease or condition.


1 Figures used on this factsheet are based on 2010 data.
Note that increases in US$ expenditure levels partially result from recent variations in US$ exchange rates.
For more data and indicators on health expenditure, please visit the Global Health Expenditure Database (GHED).

For more information contact:

WHO Media centre
Telephone: +41 22 791 2222
E-mail: mediainquiries@who.int

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