Response to corruption and fraud allegations made against WHO Syria representative

Responding to reports that World Health Organisation (WHO) funds allocated to Syria were allegedly lost to corruption and fraud during the height of the pandemic, Jonathan Cushing, Global Health Director at Transparency International, said:

“The emergence of this case highlights the value of functioning whistleblower mechanisms. Corruption has too often been tolerated as a cost of doing business, particularly in humanitarian situations. Health systems lose nearly US $600 billion to fraud and corruption every year, more than enough to close the financing gap towards reach universal health coverage by 2030 – a key United Nations commitment.

Corruption is a public health emergency that has been magnified in many countries throughout the pandemic. We call on all member states of the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, to maintain commitment on delivering anti-corruption safeguards in its new agreement on planning for pandemics.

These allegations reinforce the case for public and user-friendly transparency in the delivery of international aid. This should cover contracts and agreements, fund disbursement and activities, and full public audits at the end of programmes.”