WHO spends more on travel than treating disease, reports say

The World Health Organisation (WHO) routinely dishes out more on travel expenses than what it does fighting disease, according to reports.

It has been revealed that he UN health agency blows around $200million (£153m) a year on travel costs.

This is more than what it spends on fighting diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

Last year, WHO spent around $71m [£54.6m] on AIDS and hepatitis, $61m [£46.9m] on malaria and $59m [£45.4m] on TB, Associated Press reports.

According to AP however, WHO director-general Dr. Margaret Chan recently racked up a $370,000 travel bill in one year.

Reports state also that Chan recently stayed in a $1,008-a-night [£776] hotel in Guinea.

In 2015, WHO finance director Nick Jeffreys said: “We don’t trust people to do the right thing when it comes to travel”.

In a more recent statement, the UN health agency said “the nature of WHOs work often requires staff to travel”.

WHO say however that travel costs were in fact reduced 14% in 2016 compared to the previous year.

The agency admits, though, that the 2015 total was exceptionally high due to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

During the Ebola disaster, WHOs travel costs soared to $234million (£180m).

Dr. Bruce Aylward, who directed the outbreak response, racked up nearly $400,000 in travel expenses during the crisis.

It is believed he often travelled to health clinics via helicopter instead of in a jeep over muddy roads.

Although experts say on-the-ground help was critical, some have questioned whether more funds could have gone to Ebola victims.

Dr. Ashish Jha, from Harvard University said: “I can’t think of any justification for ever flying first class.

“When you spend the kind of money WHO is spending on travel, you have to be able to justify it”.

Still however, some health programs do get exceptional funding; a generous $450 million [£346m] is reportedly spent treating polio every year.

TNT News

Photo Credit: United States Mission Geneva

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