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Open Access Open Badges Research

The effects of Global Fund financing on health governance in Brazil

Eduardo J Gómez1* and Rifat Atun2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Policy & Administration, Rutgers University, 401 Cooper Street, Camden, NJ, USA

2 International Health Management, Imperial College Business School and Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, Exhibition Road, SW7 2AZ, London, UK

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Globalization and Health 2012, 8:25  doi:10.1186/1744-8603-8-25

Published: 16 July 2012



The impact of donors, such as national government (bi-lateral), private sector, and individual financial (philanthropic) contributions, on domestic health policies of developing nations has been the subject of scholarly discourse. Little is known, however, about the impact of global financial initiatives, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, on policies and health governance of countries receiving funding from such initiatives.


This study employs a qualitative methodological design based on a single case study: Brazil. Analysis at national, inter-governmental and community levels is based on in-depth interviews with the Global Fund and the Brazilian Ministry of Health and civil societal activists. Primary research is complemented with information from printed media, reports, journal articles, and books, which were used to deepen our analysis while providing supporting evidence.


Our analysis suggests that in Brazil, Global Fund financing has helped to positively transform health governance at three tiers of analysis: the national-level, inter-governmental-level, and community-level. At the national-level, Global Fund financing has helped to increased political attention and commitment to relatively neglected diseases, such as tuberculosis, while harmonizing intra-bureaucratic relationships; at the inter-governmental-level, Global Fund financing has motivated the National Tuberculosis Programme to strengthen its ties with state and municipal health departments, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs); while at the community-level, the Global Fund’s financing of civil societal institutions has encouraged the emergence of new civic movements, participation, and the creation of new municipal participatory institutions designed to monitor the disbursement of funds for Global Fund grants.


Global Fund financing can help deepen health governance at multiple levels. Future work will need to explore how the financing of civil society by the Global Fund and other donors influence policy agenda-setting and institutional innovations for increased civic participation in health governance and accountability to citizens.