A Clog in the Machine: NGOs and Global Health -Jeremiah Landin

In theory, an increase in healthcare funding should improve situations across the board. However, in practice, this theory fails due to a fatal flaw. This flaw is competition in the global health market.

To elaborate on this flaw, there used to be a reliance and expectation of a single body, the World Health Organization, dealing with the medical issues that the world faces. However, after a drop in funding, the WHO was not able to deal with world health issues it once previously could deal with. This lead to a growth in NGO’s who sought to fill the gaps. Now that an influx of funding has sprung into the system, these NGOs, divided on specific issues, are scrambling for the money in pool rather than making way for the unilateral organization that could unbiasedly prioritize the issues that needed funding the most. This increase in competition for funds in a market that once supported a solution-maker, is now clogging up the process of solving the World’s most pressing issues.

Therefore, the conflicts of interests cause a divide in the available funds for each issue, as well as a clog in cooperation on other global health initiatives. What is needed now, more than ever, is for NGOs to turn from individual problem solvers, into lobbyists. If they lobby the WHO more than trying to solve the problems by them selves, they will find more funds and a more effective organization to deal with their issues.

-Jeremiah Landin


2 thoughts on “A Clog in the Machine: NGOs and Global Health -Jeremiah Landin”

  1. The existence of so many NGOs raise a fund problem in Global Health as this post stressed. Likewise, the transformation of NGOs in lobbyist instead of trying to solve by themselves some of the health problems on Earth is really a good point introduced by this post. Diseases would be way better faced if they had a major international health organization (like the WHO was one day) with subunits that would have their own specialization areas, but still belonging to one unit. This organization would receive all the funds that are now dispersed through out the thousands of institutions, and would be able to reallocate funds where they are most needed. Yet, a major organization would help the problem of having too many actors working in one issue while just a few in others. Besides, NGOs working as lobbyist would help this organization know where assistance is requested, and they could also assist the institution in becoming more accountable.


  2. The author of this post makes a good point in stating that one of the major funding issues comes from the fact that, following the “Big Push” that led to a massive global health funding increase, there was a huge influx of NGOs into the market, splitting up the money until there wasn’t enough for the WHO. While I think that the idea of all of the NGOs–or at least a lot of them–becoming lobbyists is an interesting one, I also think it’s unrealistic. Many of these NGOs are likely made up of people who have specific skill sets, ones that probably would not transfer well into lobbying. To be honest, I don’t know if there is a good and feasible solution to the problem of having too many NGOs; having funding decrease until many NGOs cannot maintain there position in the market may work, but it could also be prohibitive to the WHO or other NGOs that are doing a great deal of good, while allowing some less helpful NGOs to stay in the market.


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