$196 Billion Later, Still Little Proof U.N. Health Programs Work


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Jan 16, 2003
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In the last two decades, the world has spent more than $196 billion trying to save people from death and disease in poor countries
In one paper, WHO researchers examined the impact of various global health initiatives during the last 20 years.
They found some benefits, like increased diagnosis of tuberculosis cases and higher vaccination rates. But they also concluded some U.N. programs hurt health care in Africa by disrupting basic services and leading some countries to slash their health spending
In another paper, Chris Murray of the University of Washington and colleagues tracked how much has been spent in public health in the last two decades — the figure jumped from $5.6 billion in 1990 to $21.8 billion in 2007 — and where it's gone. Much of that money is from taxpayers in the West. The U.S. was the biggest donor, contributing more than $10 billion in 2007.

The U.N.: Even More Expensive Than It Looks
Rich countries, led by the United States, take note: you already pay about three times as much for the U.N. as appears on your own books — about $17.2 billion in 2006, according to figures newly pulled together in a U.N. report. And that number includes a whopping $800 million surplus for the sprawling U.N. system.
What the U.N. did with the extra cash isn't covered in the document that for the first time reveals the full extent of U.N. anti-poverty contributions and spending across 37 funds, agencies and programs.
But as the U.N. report itself states, the difference between the U.N.'s tallies and those of the 23-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which antes up most of the U.N.'s development funds, "present a very different image of the scale of United Nations operational and development activities."
Click here to see the report.

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