WHO Under Siege By Private Sector, Group Asserts

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The World Health Organization is under siege by private sector forces using their financial leverage to gain undue influence in the financially beleaguered United Nations agency, a developing country-oriented group has said.

A recent piece for the non-governmental Third World Network made the assertion based on developments such as the presence of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates sharing the stage with WHO Director General Margaret Chan at the WHO members annual meeting last year, and the presence of industry interests at a civil society meeting before last year’s UN summit on noncommunicable diseases.

In general, WHO’s move toward a stronger “partnership” approach with the private sector has raised concern, it said. It also noted the private-sector influence in the increasingly powerful global public health foundations, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Chan has sought repeatedly to assure member states that the WHO understands the necessary line between any stakeholders. But some see industry links in the reform proposals emerging from the WHO, the group said.

The Third World Network is a recognised NGO at the UN in Geneva. The full article is here.

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