01 June 2017

Dr Tedros can make history by tackling global health funding

Ilona Kickbusch, Director of the Graduate Institute’s Global Health Centre, says new World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom can “make global health history” if he can reform how global health programmes are funded.

On 23 May, WHO Member States elected Dr Tedros, the previous Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Health to run the $4.4 billion UN agency. His five-year term will begin on 1 July 2017.

“Dr Tedros has a very strong mandate to lead the WHO, but his programme will need significant financial resources”, said Dr Kickbusch. “Currently, the money isn’t coming forward. In health crises and emergencies, at least $500 million is missing from the budget, and women’s and children’s health programmes are being cut.”

“A big challenge for Dr T will be to convince the US to be fully supportive but perhaps even more importantly, to convince European and emerging market countries to contribute more to the WHO and other global health programmes."

"This is the right time for him to invite people to sit down and discuss how we use the overall pool of resources needed in global health. With programmes increasingly overlapping, there’s an opportunity for innovation here. If Dr Tedros grabs that by the horns, he can make global health history."

Ilona Kickbusch was speaking during a Facebook Live session, available to watch below.

READ MORE: The new director general of WHO and the politics of global health (Ilona Kickbusch bmj blog)