According to a new report, the World Health Organization is spending more money on traveling than battling world’s biggest health crisis like AIDS or Malaria as the UN health agency is spending around $200 million a year on travel cost. AP reports that their travel cost is spent on their bosses who are flying business class and staying in a five-star hotel.
One example is a report from AP on agency’s director-general Dr. Margaret Chan. Chan’s travel bill in one year has totaled up a $370,000 add to that a recently $1,008 bill for a one-night hotel stay in Guinea.
The agency’s finance director Nick Jeffreys was even caught saying “We don’t trust people to do the right thing when it comes to travel” at a 2015 seminar.
On its defense, the agency said: “the nature of WHO’s work often requires WHO staff to travel”. They even said that they already reduced their travel cost by 14% last year.
Other UN aid agencies manage to fly their staff on a much tighter budget. One is UN’s children’s agency UNICEF where they spend $140 million a year and has twice the staff compared to WHO.
Another agency is Doctors Without Borders who spends on $43 million a year on travels despite having more than five times as many staffers compared to WHO. The agency also forbids staff to travel in business class.
Last year, WHO spend around $71 million on AIDS and hepatitis, $61 million on malaria, $59 million on tuberculosis, and the biggest is $450 million on polio every year. WHO is still asking for more money to fight disease and taxpayers will be the one to shoulder that. Member countries of UN pay WHO’s $2 billion annual budget where the US is the largest contributor.