On January 23, 2011, the Associated Press (AP) released an article titled “Fraud Plagues Global Health Fund.” Picked up by news agencies across the globe, it extrapolated from reports of the inspector general of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (Global Fund) in 2010 to imply endemic corruption across the Global Fund system. Even though widely discredited, the article nevertheless set off a firestorm that is just now being fully extinguished. It provoked an existential crisis. The response the article precipitated was swift and dramatic, and thankfully resulted in a stronger and better run Global Fund. While some of the circumstances are specific to the Global Fund and its mode of governance, there are important lessons here for other international organizations, including the World Health Organization, itself facing considerable criticism and deliberations over its internal reform and special governance challenges, following its bungled response to the 2014 Ebola crisis in three West African nations.

Todd Summers