U.S. Participation in the World Health Organization Still Needs Improvement

ID-77-15: Published: May 16, 1977. Publicly Released: May 16, 1977.

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An update to a previous report by GAO on U.S. participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) addressed the need for clear-cut U.S. policies and objectives on international health.

Former recommendations by GAO that the two departments and one agency involved should formulate statements of such policies have not been carried out because of lack of coordination among U.S. health-concerned agencies. Although there has been some improvement in U.S. efforts to analyze WHO activities, information from overseas posts is often of little use because of inadequate collaboration between U.S. and WHO personnel. WHO planning and program budgeting procedures have improved, but there are still shortcomings in the process and in meeting U.S. needs for information. Current issues affecting WHO are (1) a proposal of the Geneva Group to limit budget growth of the U.N. and specialized agencies; and (2) a 1976 World Health Assembly resolution to allocate 60% of the Regular Program Budget to technical cooperation and services by 1980. GAO believed there was merit in the Geneva Group proposal, but expressed concerns about the resolution.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: The Secretary of State should form an Interagency Committee to (1) develop objectives and agree on a plan to achieve objectives; (2) submit an annual statement to Congress; (3) give priorities to obtaining better information; and (4) provide for U.S. representation in budget formulation. He should improve WHO planning and evaluation by encouraging financial decisions, formulation of national health plans by member nations, and complete dissemination of program information. He should assert that U.N. development should be channeled through the United Nations Development Program and financed through voluntary contributions.


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