Global Outrage against Trump’s Withdrawal of Funding to WHO

Global Outrage against Trump’s Withdrawal of Funding to WHO

There has been a global outrage against President Trump’s decision to temporarily suspend funding to the World Health Organistion, deep in the middle of a war against dangerous COVID-19 pandemic which has infected over two million people with 135,226 fatalities spread across 210 countries. The United Nations, European Union and other bodies have criticised President

There has been a global outrage against President Trump’s decision to temporarily suspend funding to the World Health Organistion, deep in the middle of a war against dangerous COVID-19 pandemic which has infected over two million people with 135,226 fatalities spread across 210 countries.

The United Nations, European Union and other bodies have criticised President Trump’s withdrawal of funding support to the World Health Organisation on Wednesday, deep in the middle of a war against COVID-19 pandemic.

Coming at a time global attention is focused on the World Health Organisation (WHO) for leadership and direction in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, the European Union faulted President Trump’s timing of his action and fears it may weaken the fight against the pandemic.

Making public his decision, President Trump said “Today I’m instructing my administration to halt funding of the WHO while a review is conducted to assess the WHO’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus,”

The United States is the biggest overall donor to the Geneva-based WHO, contributing more than $400m in 2019, roughly 15 percent of its budget.

But the United Nations Secretary General Anthonio Gutteres said this is not the time to reduce resources for WHO operations. “Now is the time for unity and for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences,”

The European Union (EU) on its part says it “deeply regrets U.S. decision to suspend funding to WHO. There is no reason justifying this move at a moment when their efforts are needed more than ever,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

The head of the World Health Organization has lamented the U.S. decision to halt funding for the U.N. agency, promising a review of its decisions without directly responding to President Donald Trump’s complaints about its alleged mismanagement, cover-up and missteps.

The man in the eye of the storm, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was, however, on the defensive after Trump announced a halt to U.S. funding, pointing out that the coronavirus is not the only health crisis that the group works to combat.

Tedros said the WHO is reviewing the impact that the withdrawal of U.S. funding will have on its operations, adding that the agency will work with its partners “to fill any financial gaps we face and to ensure our work continues uninterrupted.” He also said that the agency’s controversial response to the pandemic will be reviewed “in due course.

“The United States has been a long-standing and generous friend to WHO, and we hope it will continue to be so,” Tedros said. “With support from the people and government of the United States, WHO works to improve the health of many of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.” Tedros said.

Trump had claimed that the WHO had parroted Chinese assurances about how the virus is spread, failed to obtain virus samples from China, and made a “disastrous decision” to oppose travel restrictions as the outbreak spread.

The United States is preoccupied with its fight against the world’s largest number of coronavirus cases. Infections in the U.S. have sailed past 600,000 with deaths nearing 30,000. Coronavirus cases among U.S. service members stands at 2,486.

The United States is the biggest overall donor to the Geneva-based WHO, contributing more than $400m in 2019, roughly 15 percent of its budget.

But President Trump’s action, continues to draw flaks from experts and philanthropists in the health sector warned could jeopardize efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Philanthropists like Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg are in league with the European Union, African leaders and health experts who have lined up behind the WHO insisting that the U.S. shouldn’t cut off funding at such a critical time.

An array of world leaders, public health experts and business groups across have condemned the decision as short-sighted, especially as the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaker United States’ Congress, Nancy Pelosi accused President Trump of blaming others instead of taking responsibility, adding in a statement: “This decision is dangerous, illegal and will be swiftly challenged.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern rejected Trump’s criticism more forcefully. “At a time like this when we need to be sharing information and we need to have advice we can rely on, the WHO has provided that,” she said. “We will continue to support it and continue to make our contributions.”

Many traditional U.S. allies see President Trump’s move as an effort to score domestic political points at the cost of weakening international agreements and entities. During his presidency, Trump has attacked or withdrawn from U.N. bodies such as UNESCO and the Human Rights Council, frequently stunning and angering U.S. partners in Europe and elsewhere.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that “apportioning blame doesn’t help” and called for increased support for the agency while the British prime minister’s official spokesman said the WHO is an essential global organization fighting a global pandemic, “and we have no plans to stop our own funding.”

President Trump, however, has some mild support in Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison who echoed concerns voiced by Trump and others, saying the WHO is “not immune from criticism.” But he added that the organization “does a lot of important work.”

Ayo Aluko-Olokun
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