Blockchain and Global Health

How the Technology Could Cut Waste and Reduce Fraud

A child receiving a polio vaccination near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, December 2015. PARWIZ / REUTERS

Every year, some $455 billion of the world’s health care spending is lost to fraud—an amount that is more than the GDPs of Finland and Sri Lanka combined. Although a portion of this abuse occurs in rich states, a large share takes place in developing countries, where lost money can have major costs for public health.

In 2011, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon estimated that “corruption prevented 30 percent of all development assistance from reaching its final destination.” There is reason to believe that a similar figure holds in the global health sector. In 2011, for instance, the Global Fund, the world’s largest clearinghouse for funds related to the treatment of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, asked the governments of Djibouti, Mali, Mauritius, and Zambia to repay some $34 million it claimed was misspent, fraudulently accounted for, or had simply disappeared. GAVI, a global vaccine alliance, has been reimbursed by 11 countries for misused

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