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Commentary

The WHO: A Time for Reconstitution
Richard E. Wagner, Campaign for Fighting Diseases, 6-1-05

Wagner criticizes the WHO for spending much of its budget on politically correct but medically dubious causes that have little, if any, impact on health in developing countries.

In a world in which life-expectancy is increasing as a result of rising personal prosperity, one would expect the WHO to devote its limited budget to the trans-boundary diseases which pose the greatest threat to global health.

While this should include threats such as avian flu, it must also include diseases like AIDS and malaria, which disproportionately affect the poor.
Instead, the WHO is throwing money at the modish obsessions of western health bureaucracies, ranging from road safety to blood pressure. Its self-appointed remit is so broad that it is surprising they don't yet have a global initiative to stop children from running with scissors.
[Wagner’s analysis] of the WHO's budget for 2006-7 reveals that the agency focuses far too much on non-communicable diseases - such as high blood-pressure and psychiatric health - and not enough on AIDS, malaria and other communicable diseases of the poor. Unsurprisingly, most of this money is swallowed up by bureaucracy, bloated salaries and public relations.


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