Editorial

Why US must reconsider its suspension of funding to WHO

Last week, the U.S. President Donald Trump, carried out a threat he had issued earlier by temporarily cutting funding the World Health Organization (WHO).

The US President has accused the WHO of failing to hold China to account over the coronavirus pandemic.

“China has total control over the World Health Organization,” he said when he announced the cutting of funds to the UN body founded in 1948 and based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The WHO is the UN agency responsible for global public health and has 194 member states, and aims to “promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable”

 In addition to playing a key role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, it implements numerous programs to prevent, control, and treat Ebola, measles, malaria, HIV and AIDS, and many other diseases. 

It is involved in vaccination campaigns, health emergencies and supporting countries in primary care and it is funded by a combination of members’ fees based on wealth and population and voluntary contributions

The US is the global health body’s largest single contributor, providing more than $400m in 2019, around 15% of its total budget.

The US President announced the decision Friday, accusing the WHO of not responding adequately to the global outbreak and being under China’s “total control.”

Earlier last month, President Trump announced that he was going to halt US funding for the WHO unless it undertook “substantive improvements” within 30 days.

And since the announcement was made, the health community and countries around the globe have predictably criticised the decision which is coming at a critical time and in the middle of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. 

The EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said in a joint statement Saturday that “The WHO needs to continue being able to lead the international response to pandemics, current and future.

“Actions that weaken international results must be avoided,” the EU officials added. “We urge the U.S. to reconsider its announced decision.”

The German’s Health Minister Jens Spahn also criticised the move, saying it amounted to a “disappointing backlash for international health”.

Health expert across the world have also criticised the decision fearing that it might jeopardise world health programme and affect the vulnerable around the world.

The Ghanaian Times views the decision by President Trump as troubling and not in the interest of the world as it battles through a pandemic.

Now more than ever, the world needs WHO to lead and promote healthcare systems that provides an ideal solution to COVID-19.

Starving the world’s leading healthcare organisation of much-needed funds only incapacitate it and threatens our ability to fight ill health.

What the world need is collaboration among its nations including the USA to make healthcare accessible to people no matter their economic and social background.

It is our hope that the USA will reconsider its position and rather support the WHO, as it had done for years, toward research and development in healthcare to fight the current pandemic and all other health concerns confronting the world.

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