WHO's Slow Road to Funding Reform

Science  22 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5367, pp. 1187
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5367.1187

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Lisa Schlein GENEVA-- As the member countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) gathered here last week to celebrate the body's 50th birthday and ratify the appointment of its new director-general, former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, delegates were scrambling behind the scenes to avert a damaging split in the organization over funding reform. A proposal to redistribute the organization's budget for field operations had threatened huge funding cuts for some of WHO's regional operations, such as 50% from its Southeast Asian office. But after a week of tough negotiating, delegates reached a compromise in which the poorest countries would be protected and cuts elsewhere would be phased in more slowly.