Estimates of aid for reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health: findings from application of the Muskoka2 method, 2002–17

Estimates of aid for reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health: findings from application of the Muskoka2 method, 2002–17



Four methods have previously been used to track aid for reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH). At a meeting of donors and stakeholders in May, 2018, a single, agreed method was requested to produce accurate, predictable, transparent, and up-to-date estimates that could be used for analyses from both donor and recipient perspectives. Muskoka2 was developed to meet these needs. We describe Muskoka2 and present estimates of levels and trends in aid for RMNCH in 2002–17, with a focus on the latest estimates for 2017.


Muskoka2 is an automated algorithm that generates disaggregated estimates of aid for reproductive health, maternal and newborn health, and child health at the global, donor, and recipient-country levels. We applied Muskoka2 to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Creditor Reporting System (CRS) aid activities database to generate estimates of RMNCH disbursements in 2002–17. The percentage of disbursements that benefit RMNCH was determined using CRS purpose codes for all donors except Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the UN Population Fund; and UNICEF; for which fixed percentages of aid were considered to benefit RMNCH. We analysed funding by donor for the 20 largest donors, by recipient-country income group, and by recipient for the 16 countries with the greatest RMNCH need, defined as the countries with the worst levels in 2015 on each of seven health indicators.


After 3 years of stagnation, reported aid for RMNCH reached $15·9 billion in 2017, the highest amount ever reported. Among donors reporting in both 2016 and 2017, aid increased by 10% ($1·4 billion) to $15·4 billion between 2016 and 2017. Child health received almost half of RMNCH disbursements in 2017 (46%, $7·4 billion), followed by reproductive health (34%, $5·4 billion), and maternal and newborn health (19%, $3·1 billion). The USA ($5·8 billion) and the UK ($1·6 billion) were the largest bilateral donors, disbursing 46% of all RMNCH funding in 2017 (including shares of their core contributions to multilaterals). The Global Fund and Gavi were the largest multilateral donors, disbursing $1·7 billion and $1·5 billion, respectively, for RMNCH from their core budgets. The proportion of aid for RMNCH received by low-income countries increased from 31% in 2002 to 52% in 2017. Nigeria received 7% ($1·1 billion) of all aid for RMNCH in 2017, followed by Ethiopia (6%, $876 million), Kenya (5%, $754 million), and Tanzania (5%, $751 million).


Muskoka2 retains the speed, transparency, and donor buy-in of the G8’s previous Muskoka approach and incorporates eight innovations to improve precision. Although aid for RMNCH increased in 2017, low-income and middle-income countries still experience substantial funding gaps and threats to future funding. Maternal and newborn health receives considerably less funding than reproductive health or child health, which is a persistent issue requiring urgent attention.


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health.


In the push towards universal health coverage, focused efforts are needed to ensure that reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH) receives adequate funding. Although domestic and non-traditional health financing sources have rightly received increased attention in recent years,


  • Kaboré RMC
  • Solberg E
  • Gates M
  • Kim JY
Financing the SDGs: mobilising and using domestic resources for health and human capital.