CGD in the News

WHO's Real and Urgent Crisis: Its Role in a Changing World (Huffington Post)

April 13, 2011

Nandini Oomman's WHO post was also featured on the Huffington Post.

From the Article

On March 23rd, Richard Horton, Editor, The Lancet, "tweeted" a series of 140 character messages in rapid fire about the World Health Organization (WHO) that caught my eye:

• Just had a profoundly disturbing call from a Director of a WHO programme in Geneva. Cuts at WHO are huge - meeting a $300 million deficit.

• Core functions are being slashed. Dedicated and quality staff are being fired. Others are being asked to retire early. WHO is "paralysed."

• All are living in fear of losing their jobs. There is little or no consultation or planning. Staff are being transferred to disabled depts.

• The result? Weaknesses are being compounded, lowering morale still further. There is a real and urgent crisis at WHO.

• For all those who believe in multilateralism, what should or can we do? The situation seems desperate.

Tweets from the editor of a high impact factor global health journal aren't easily ignored (and I reproduced here with his permission), especially when they alert readers to an urgent crisis. What prompted Richard's worries about the WHO? A few things seem to be circulating in the global health world through back door conversations, but there is almost no public discussion about WHO's slow decay and what to do about it. So I decided to dig a little deeper (by speaking to WHO staff in Geneva) to find out what is happening inside WHO and use this information to trigger constructive public debate about the future role of this agency.

Read the Article