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Blog Examines Shift Toward NCDs In Proposed WHO Budget

In the first of a series of blog posts on the future of global health, Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Laurie Garrett writes in her blog, “[T]hough the budget of WHO is woeful, as I will show in this and subsequent blog posts this week, [WHO Director-General Margaret] Chan has the power to persuade the [World Health Assembly] to approve new directions in global health through her choices in apportioning funds.” Garrett describes Chan’s WHO budget proposal, providing several flow charts, and she writes, “Overall, the proposed WHO 2014-15 budget offers startling changes in the mission and direction of the agency, pushing it significantly away from infectious diseases, HIV, TB, malaria, and outbreaks, and towards addressing disabilities, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and aging.” She continues, “The text of the proposed DG budget does little to explain why these shifts in spending, and therefore in the entire mission of the WHO, are recommended.” Garrett concludes, “It seems to this writer that the WHO’s decision to increase spending in non-communicable diseases at the apparent expense of its own capacity to respond to outbreaks and epidemics is hasty. The world is not yet ready to walk away from humanity’s war with the microbes” (5/21).