The World Health Organisation (WHO) is the body that advises public health and has played a central role in tackling the current coronavirus pandemic. Created in 1948, its main goals were to eradicate and curb diseases that had long plagued the world such as tuberculosis and malaria.
It has since played a vital role in bringing good health and vaccination across the world.
One of its biggest achievements is the eradication of smallpox, the last known case having been in Somalia in 1977.
It prides itself on the near-eradication of polio, the deadly infectious disease that had swept the world for centuries.
And, last December, the first approved Ebola vaccine, aided by the WHO, entered the public sphere.
More ambitious perhaps, its goal to completely end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
Despite intending to rid the world of disease, many have grown skeptical of the WHO’s true intentions.
Much of this comes in part due to speculative conspiracy theories and fierce opposition from powerhouse states such as the US under Donald Trump, who earlier this month suspended funding to the WHO.
Yet, some suspicions come from first-hand experience of the lavish nature of the WHO and its strong ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
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There have been consistent complaints of “conflicts of interest” concerning those who simultaneously advise the WHO and pharmaceutical companies.
US journalist Robert Parsons has been based in Geneva, the location of the WHO’s headquarters.
For the past 20 years he has reported on the body.
During an interview for the 2018 documentary TrustWHO, hr spoke about how the WHO’s transparency has clouded in recent years, with the prevalence of being wined and dined by the pharmaceutical industry becoming more obvious.
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He said: “Until a few years ago every Monday, the opening day of the World Health Assembly, there was a sumptuous reception at the WHO given by the Director General.
“That was the great centrepiece where everybody met and talked.
“It was a very good situation for pulling everyone together in an informal setting.
“Now, more than ever, that sort of thing has been replaced by private reception.
“They are organised by industry.
“Industry spends a lot of money for them as just part of the cost of doing business.
“It’s a way of making direct contact with the people who, back in their home countries, are making the decisions to formulate and implement public health policy.
“It’s extraordinarily expensive.
“You can imagine if there’s a thousand people and you give 100 francs to a person that’s 100,000 francs right there at least.
“Just to feed people who are already overfed.
“There’s no limit on the champagne, wine – and it’s always very good wine.”
The WHO declined to comment when approached by Express.co.uk.
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