$196 Billion Wasted?

It’s articles like these that make me a bit sad, as it only strengthens the cynical side of me.


The aspect of money being earmarked for non critical issues is not one I’ve thought of before, but is to be expected. Once funding has been approved, it must be spent on the program it’s been approved for. You think they would take a little more care in outlining priorities for a country or region.

The worst part is that nothing will ever be done to fix these problems.

The end of the article is most telling:

[quote]U.N. agencies, universities and others working on public health routinely take from two to 50 per cent of a donation for “administrative purposes” before it reaches needy countries.

Others said there is little incentive for health officials to commission an independent evaluation to find out what their programs have achieved.

“The public health community has convinced the public the only way to improve poor health in developing countries is by throwing a ton of money at it,” Stevens said. “It is perhaps not coincidental that thousands of highly paid jobs and careers are also dependent on it.”[/quote]

This will probably sound crazy and impractical to most here, but my general view is that health care and health services, if they are to be ethical, must be nonprofit. By that I don’t mean that doctors and health care workers shouldn’t be well paid for their services, but that there should be no shareholders or corporations behind them making a profit for their “investment”. Now I don’t know how much of the world health service stuff is “for profit”, but it is hard to imagine international health services all might be called “nonprofit”. I would guess that many universities or other aid organizations make a profit somehow beyond “administrative costs”. I also realize I’m sort of missing the bigger point of the article, which is that the problem isn’t necessarily that there is a world health aid “industry” per say, but that still costs are inexplicably high. But the issues seem related, so oh well.

This money has not been “wasted.” Period.

Overall the posted article was poorly written and conflated a lot of issues. Global Health is complected and the article didn’t do any favors to understanding things (especially not having any links!). I don’t really have a lot of time now to get into it. Money spent on Global Health is an excellent investment in the future, not to mention a humanitarian need in many cases. Honestly I don’t know where to begin on this…

Let me put it this way, in terms of global health, President Bush is the man. That’s right, this “crazy lefty” thinks Bush did a GREAT job (in terms of Global Health). There’s a reason why they LOVE HIM in Africa. Google PEPFAR http://www.pepfar.gov/ and look at this: Home - The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

BUSH SAVED MILLIONS OF LIVES. MILLIONS! Has money been spent inappropriately? Yeah. Could more be done? Yeah. Can money be better spent? Always. But things have gotten a hell of a lot better in the last ten years. Money is now being spent a hell of a lot better. Should you be proud of what America has done in these terms in the last 8yrs or so? Hell yeah.

There’s a lot more to do, but PEPFAR and “the Fund” in particular are some amazing programs with support from just about everyone.

Here are some of the Lancet articles mentioned in the article posted above. You have to log in, but it’s free and I encourage you all to do so.


(sorry if this post is a bit rambly, I had a good happy hour today…it is friday after all).