Unchecked Idealism: WHO's Epidemic?

Roger Bate | 15 May 2007
American Enterprise Institute
When the World Health Assembly of health ministers from around the globe gathers this month in Geneva, of particular concern should be the performance of its parent organization, the World Health Organization (WHO). Thirty years ago, WHO celebrated its greatest triumph: the eradication of smallpox. Not only has this victory not been repeated, but today WHO rarely comes close to achieving its targets in combating disease. Its target-setting mechanisms have been so misused that WHO has lost credibility. WHO targets have been unrealistic or impossible to measure, leading some to conclude that they are designed primarily--if not entirely--for fundraising, cheerleading, and motivational purposes. Worse still, WHO's approach is being copied by other United Nations (UN) agencies. WHO should drop its grandiose goals in favor of measured and sustainable approaches to disease control that yield results.

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