The Covid-19 pandemic prompted a strong re-engagement in global health. Because the pandemic coincided with geopolitical rifts between the US and China, but required a global response, the EU and its member states took responsibility to safeguard the World Health Organization (WHO) and initiated global arrangements for vaccine sharing for developing countries. Within the EU, mandates and global health functions have traditionally been underdeveloped and divided between the development and health sectors. For the Netherlands, this is perhaps the case to an even larger extent. Development funding has focused primarily on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the health ministry has had limited interest and capacity on international health issues, with the exception of certain specific issues such as Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) and medicine prices. Spending on global health by both the EU and the Netherlands has been fragmented, with mainly ad hoc budgets being made available for the international pandemic response. This policy brief calls for a structural response and more coherent outlook on global health.
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