Tuesday, August 15, 2017

World Health Organization (WHO): spotting spending patterns in 2000-2015

It took me a while to find and groom WHO spending numbers. All financial reports I used can be found here. There were a few challenges, here are some worth mentioning.

1. Between 2000 and 2011, the WHO published two-year financial reports, and in 2012, they switched to one-year schedule.

2. The list of expenditure categories was changing from year two year. As a result, I could not break down equipment and supplies category into meaningful groups, so medical supplies and furniture fall into the same category. Same with the "Other" category: it includes grants, research contracts, local subsidies and what not.

3. Since 2008, WHO financial reports stopped providing staff costs breakdown, so "Stuff costs" category includes full-time and part-time employees, consultants and even governing body delegates.

Below is the two-axis chart that shows absolute spending numbers as bars and the share of some spending categories as lines:

Key observations:

  • the WHO is drifting towards outsourcing some of the activities: watch the staff+equipment spending go down while contractual services going up;
  • the share of travel expenses grew three times between 2000 and 2015.

It turned out both observations make sense: just google "world health organization outsourcing" and "world health organization travel expenses".

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