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International News

Survey Looks at Global Perceptions of Health Problems, Priorities, Foreign Aid

December 14, 2007

People living in sub-Saharan Africa believe HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases are "very big" issues that governments should address, according to a survey released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Pew Global Attitudes Project, the AP/ reports. The survey involved telephone and in-person interviews among 45,239 people in 47 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Western Europe and North America. It aimed to determine how people perceive and prioritize health care in their countries and assess efforts of donor countries (Mann, AP/, 12/13).

Prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS are the top health priority in sub-Saharan African and Asian countries surveyed. Large majorities of people in countries with high HIV prevalence -- defined as having an estimated HIV prevalence of 5% or higher -- and "next wave countries" -- which have large populations at risk for HIV -- said HIV is a bigger problem now than it was five years ago but also said there has been progress in most countries to prevent and treat HIV.

The survey found that addressing hunger and malnutrition are the top priorities in Latin America and the Middle East. Access to health care is the top priority in Central and Eastern Europe, according to the survey. The majority of people living in 23 of 34 low- and middle-income countries said that every one of the nine health issues asked about in the survey should be "one of the most important" issues addressed by their governments (Kaiser Family Foundation release, 12/13). In other regions, crime, corruption, pollution or terrorism were listed as the biggest issues.

Overall, the survey found that "global health is a local phenomenon." Despite the variation, "concern about health as a personal and family issue is high in most countries and across all regions," the survey said. It added, "Despite all the differences in views and experiences across countries, this survey underscores how powerfully health is experienced in people's lives and how many see a role for their governments and others to do more."

In 23 of the countries surveyed, at least 40% of people said they had not received health care because they could not afford it, according to the survey. Although this is a decline compared with findings from a similar 2002 survey, the "gaps between rich and poor nations in reports of hunger and lack of health care remain enormous," the survey said (AP/, 12/13).

Majorities in almost every country surveyed said that wealthier countries are not doing enough to aid lower-income countries in efforts to fight diseases, reduce poverty or fuel economic development. In countries that receive large amounts of development aid, people were more likely to say that wealthy nations are "doing enough" to help lower-income countries. People living in sub-Saharan African and Indonesia -- which have received aid to address HIV/AIDS and relief efforts from the 2004 tsunami, respectively -- were most likely to think wealthy nations are providing enough aid. The survey also found substantial support among wealthier nations to provide more aid to lower-income countries (Kaiser Family Foundation release, 12/13).

All of the samples represented in the survey were national except for Bolivia, Brazil, China, India, the Ivory Cost, Pakistan, South Africa and Venezuela, where the survey was conducted mostly or completely in urban areas. The number of respondents in the surveyed countries ranged from 500 to more than 3,000, the AP/ reports. Survey results for each country have a margin of sampling error ranging from plus or minus two percentage points to plus or minus four percentage points (AP/, 12/13).

Online The survey is available>
The report was discussed at an event sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., as part of its Smart Power Speaker Series. A webcast of the event is available online at

Back to other news for December 2007

Reprinted with permission from You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2007 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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