Intended for healthcare professionals


Funding the global control of bird flu

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 26 January 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:189
  1. Jennifer A Roberts, professor (
  1. Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT

    $1.9bn may be peanuts, but it's more than anyone expected

    Whatever resources you put in place—compared to the potential pandemic cost—it is peanuts. It is nothing.

    Margaret Chan, WHO assistant director, at International Pledging Conference on Avian and Human Pandemic Influenza, Beijing1

    When a gathering of 800 representatives of some 100 countries and 20 international agencies attend a conference to pledge funds in support of a policy, and when the funds pledged are in excess of requests, something is afoot. “This is not charity. This is not just solidarity. This is self defence,” said Markos Kyprianou, European Union health commissioner.2 A pandemic of avian influenza could affect up to a quarter of the world's population, cause deaths of millions of people, and plunge the economy into depression. Projecting the costs of this is difficult, but the World Bank estimates that the cost may be £800bn ($1430bn; €1160bn) in the first year.

    The pledging conference held in Beijing 17-18 January—sponsored by the People's Republic of China, the European Commission, and the World Bank— raised some $1.9bn; “peanuts” perhaps, but useful. It was more than the $1.2-1.4bn …

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