Takeoff for Tuberculosis!

Paying for global health using voluntary air ticket contributions? Surely you can't be serious.

Paying for global health using voluntary airline ticket contributions? Surely you can't be serious.

According to Mike Smith at the Global Health blog (and Time), an initiative being supported by Bill Clinton, the World Bank and the UN will soon have airlines asking for voluntary contributions towards international health projects:

Starting next January, whenever you buy an airline ticket at a travel agency or online, there’ll be a new question to answer before you hand over your credit card: Would you be willing to donate $2 to help fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in Africa?

Would it not make more sense to, oh I don’t know, doing away with the flying in of development workers and consultants on business class tickets, and use the saved money to help fund the health sector?

Sure, there are potentialyl negative incentive effects, but I’m doubtful they are that large. Chris Blattman’s blog had a huge debate about this a few months ago. Colour me cynical, but I’d be surprised if the money earned from voluntary contributions would come even close to the amount you’d save by cutting back on travel expenses.

Earlier NYtimes article about the scheme here.