The UK aid response to global health threats

While health has been a major focus of UK aid for many years, the response to and lessons from the Ebola crisis stimulated a rapid scaling up of activity and spending to address global health threats.

Score: Green/Amber
  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 31 January 2018
  3. Type: Learning review
  4. Subject: Cross-government aid spend, Global health
  5. Assessment: Green/Amber
  6. Location: Burma, Sierra Leone
  7. Lead commissioner: Richard Gledhill

Read the approach paper

Our approach

ICAI set out to conduct a learning review of the UK aid response to global health threats, since the scaling up of expenditure and cross-government collaboration required to address this challenge was at an early stage.

The purpose of the review is to explore how well the UK aid programme is preparing for global health threats, in response to the priorities outlined in the UK aid strategy and the lessons learnt from Ebola. In this context our definition of global health threats includes infectious disease epidemics, emerging diseases with epidemic potential and drug-resistant microbes. The review assesses the relevance of the aid response and its potential effectiveness, including assessing whether the response was evidence-based and whether lessons were being captured to inform future programming.

The review explores the expansion of the aid programme in areas such as health research, surveillance and emergency response within a broader health systems strengthening (HSS) approach. This includes assessing the UK’s contribution to influencing and strengthening the international system for health surveillance and crisis response.



Published 9 June 2017

Evidence gathering


Review publication

Published 31 January 2018

Government response

Published 14 March 2018

Parliamentary scrutiny

IDC hearing 28 March 2018

ICAI follow-up

Published 18 July 2019