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The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times
29 Apr 2023

NextImg:WHO Insider Gives Analysis of Its $31 Billion Pandemic Plan

Garrett Brown, a professor of global health policy who was recently hired by the World Health Organization (WHO) to determine whether its $31.1 billion plan for pandemic preparedness and response is feasible, has expressed concerns about the cost-effectiveness of the initiative.

The $31.1 billion fund is the estimated need for pandemic response at all regional, national, and global levels, Brown said in an April 22 interview with EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program. The estimate has been made by the WHO, the G20, and the World Bank. However, Brown is apprehensive about whether the initiative will succeed in getting that much funding.

“Let’s put it in perspective. The total operating budget for the global fund, which is responsible for AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, three of the biggest communicable diseases, is around four billion a year. Those are already hard to finance. That is already complicated,” Brown said.

“You have these annual replenishment models, and there’s a lot of squabbling about who’s going to pay what. They are already complicated with high transaction costs because you have to replenish them all the time. Suddenly, you’re talking about $31.1 billion.”

Brown is unsure how the $31.1 billion amount was calculated. The estimate consists of two components, a global fund and a regional fund.

Around $26 billion a year will be set aside to make states align their national programs with global programs. In addition, $4.7 billion is required at the global level for surveillance, coordination, and other mechanisms.

“One of the questions is whether or not this is really what pandemic preparedness and response should cost and how we can justify those numbers. But those are the numbers being used,” he stated.

Brown pointed out that COVID-19 is estimated to have cost the world somewhere around $12 trillion to $20 trillion in stimulus packages and lost GDP.

“Those are opportunity costs because if you just think, ‘What if we put $20 trillion into something else? What if we did something else with that money or have that money used in other ways at a more micro-level in an individual’s life?’ It would be profound. What did we get for that 20 trillion in the end?” he said.

Brown expressed worries about money being moved from general health care to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic.

He pointed out that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OEC) added a “line item” for COVID-19 in 2020, which he says was an “extraordinary amount of money.” The term line item refers to an amount that is separately listed in a budget.

Almost all the new aid money went into COVID or into infectious disease control, Brown said, noting that there were some “staggering” numbers that reflected how the decision negatively affected general health budgets.

“Basic health is a line item, and basic health fell by 34 percent. You’re shifting money from basic health into pandemic preparedness and response. Basic nutrition fell by 10 percent. Nutritional programs have seen money depleted,” Brown said.

“There’s a study out of Indonesia where Indonesia has just basically suspended their polio program and moved those human resources into vaccines to administer vaccines. We saw this with malaria, tuberculosis, HIV, AIDS, and reproductive health.”

Coming back to the annual $26 billion fund that the WHO wants nations to cough up, Brown raised concerns that these countries will likely end up taking that money out of existing programs.

As to how the WHO intends to raise $31.1 billion, Brown says that the money would come from a “mixture of donors,” which usually includes high-income nations like the United States and the UK as well as big organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“On an annual basis, the State Department will relinquish a certain amount of money to these institutions.”

“The leaders at the G7 will commit a replenishment package to the global fund. They are willing to pay a certain amount on an annual basis for the next two years or three years. That’s where the money is generated from.”

Meanwhile, member countries of the WHO are currently negotiating a global accord on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. The lead negotiator representing the United States in these discussions, Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto, has said that America is committed to forming the accord.

Some are worried that the accord could compromise the autonomy of individual countries when it comes to responding to pandemics.

Michelle Bachmann, a former Republican congresswoman, has suggested that the United States joining the accord could be a power grab by the Biden administration.

“There has never been a bigger power grab than this power grab—and it’s being led by the Biden administration,” Bachmann told Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

“The whole purpose of this legislation would be that 194 countries, all of the member states of the U.N., would give up their sovereignty to the World Health Organization over health care.”

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