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Commentary

Who is WHO representing?
Richard E. Wagner, Philip Stevens, This Day (Nigeria), 6-10-05

This article is a useful counterpoise to the WHO’s emphasis on aid first, and economic growth second. The authors argue that the WHO is unaccountable, wasteful, and promotes a socialistic, centralized vision of health that is demonstrably failing to get to grips with the global AIDS and malaria pandemics.

Recently, health officials and lobbyists returned to their ministries and offices around the world after two weeks in Geneva at the annual meeting of the World Health Organization, where they approved its priorities and its $3.2bn budget for the coming year.
These delegates should have spent a useful fortnight ensuring that the WHO is giving its best to the world’s poorest and sickest people. In reality, they have endorsed a self-obsessed organization that neglects the poor in favor of the fashionable health concerns of its rich-country sponsors.
In a world in which life-expectancy is increasing as a result of rising personal prosperity, the WHO should be devoting its limited budget to the transnational diseases which pose the greatest threat to global health. …
But, instead, the sessions were devoted to a host of issues mainly of concern to rich countries, such as the benefits of breastfeeding and ‘the promotion of healthy lifestyles.’


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