A report card for one of the United Nation's most important agencies
Amid accusations of ineffectiveness and "politicization," the World Health Organization finds itself engulfed in a crisis of confidence that has led some observers to question is continued viability. Even highly placed members of WHO's Secretariat fear that conflict and controversy have become endemic to the agency, compromising its effectiveness more than ever before. To assess the validity of these allegations, Javed Siddiqi evaluates the agency's accomplishments from 1948 through 1985, including its massive field effort in the Malaria Eradication Programme. His findings portray an organization that, despite the recurrent intrusions of "negative politics," has been increasingly successful in realizing structural aspirations of universal membership and workable decentralization but less effective in attempts to eliminate individual diseases.
Javed Siddiqi is assistant professor of the history of medicine at the University of Western Ontario and a practicing physician who has served as temporary advisor to the World Health Organization.
"[Siddiqi] has shown that world health and world politics are indeed inseparable. At the same time, he has rightly separated charges of politicization from alleged ineffectiveness."—Yves Beigbeder, author of Management Problems in United Nations Organizations