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World Health Organisation division tackling coronavirus underfunded and facing internal corruption allegations, audits reveal

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. PHOTO: ABC News/AP/Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone

By Linton Besser | 16 February 2020

ABC NEWS — The World Health Organisation division leading the global response to the coronavirus outbreak is so chronically underfunded it has repeatedly been found to pose a “severe” and “unacceptable” level of hazard to the organisation, recent audits reveal.

The WHO Health Emergencies Program, established in 2016, scored the highest risk rating in 2018 and 2019 because a “failure to adequately finance the program and emergency operations [risks] inadequate delivery of results at country level”.

The ABC can also reveal the WHO is still struggling to implement vital reforms in the fallout of its widely criticised response to a deadly Ebola outbreak six years ago.

As of May last year, 59 of the 90 recommendations made by its internal auditors were yet to be completed, including 38 “high-significance” reforms, some of which had suffered from “low implementation effort”.

There has also been a surge in internal corruption allegations across the whole of the organisation, with the detection of multiple schemes aimed at defrauding large sums of money from the international body.

An external committee has warned the WHO it is facing “decreasing internal control compliance”. […]

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