We sought to examine the relationship between child specific health aid (CHA) and burden of disease. Based on existing evidence, we hypothesized that foreign aid for child health would not be proportional to burden of disease.In order to examine CHA and burden of disease, we obtained estimates of these parameters from established sources. Estimates of disability adjusted life years (DALYs) in children (0-5 years) were obtained from the World Health Organization for 2000 and 2012. The 10 most burdensome disease categories in each continent, excluding high-income countries, were identified for study. Descriptions of all foreign aid commitments between 1996 and 2009 were obtained from AidData, and an algorithm to designate the target diseases of the commitments was constructed. Data were examined in scatterplots for trends.The most burdensome childhood diseases varied by continent. In all continents, newborn diseases, vaccine-preventable diseases (lower respiratory diseases, measles, meningitis, tetanus, and pertussis), and diarrheal diseases ranked within the four most burdensome diseases. Infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV were also among the ten most burdensome diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, and non-communicable diseases were associated with much of the burden in the other continents. CHA grew from $7.4 billion in 1996 to $17.7 billion in 2009 for our study diseases. Diarrheal diseases and malnutrition received the most CHA as well as the most CHA per DALY. CHA directed at HIV increased dramatically over our study period, from $227,000 in 1996 to $3.4 billion in 2008. Little aid was directed at injuries such as drowning, car accidents, and fires, as well as complex medical diseases such as leukemia and endocrine disorders.CHA has grown significantly over the last two decades. There is no clear relationship between CHA and burden of disease. This report provides a description of foreign aid for child health, and hopes to inform policy and decision-making regarding foreign aid.
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