American President, Donald Trump, has announced the halting of funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for its alleged “role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of Covid-19″.
He made the announcement on Tuesday, noting that a review will be conducted.
He revealed that the United States funnels around $400 million to $500 million to the WHO each year, which is roughly 15 per cent of the global health body’s budget.
US have been the largest supporter of the WHO since its creation in 1948.
On the other hand, Trump said, China “contributes roughly $40 million.”
According to Trump, “had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China’s lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little deaths.”
His decision to withdraw funding from the WHO, findings showed, follows a pattern of skepticism of world organizations that began before the Covid-19 pandemic.
It can be recalled that Trump had questioned US funding to the United Nations, withdrawn from global climate agreements and lambasted the World Trade Organization – claiming all were ripping off the United States.
Global Leaders React:
However, global leaders and organisations have quickly expressed their misgivings to the decision taken by the Trump administration.
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres
In his reaction, Guterres 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.”
American Medical Association (AMA)
AMA President, Patrice Harris, described the decision as “a dangerous step in the wrong direction that will not make defeating COVID-19 easier,” urging President Trump to reconsider.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Dr William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert, while reacting said: “This virus doesn’t need passports. In a few short months it has travelled to all of the continents of the world except Antarctica. If there were ever an event that showed us how we need to work tougher as a global community, this is it.”
Central African Republic’s (CAR) Health Minister, Pierre Somse
The Health Minister of the Central African Republic, Somse, said, “Trump’s move was a regrettable decision that will have harmful effects on the functioning of the WHO and on world health, because the WHO supports many countries in the health sector.”
New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern
“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. We will continue to support it and continue to make our contributions,” Ardern said.
Australian PM, Scott Morrison
On his part, Morrison however said that he sympathised with Trump’s criticisms of the WHO, especially its support of reopening China’s “wet markets” where freshly slaughtered animals are sold and where the outbreak first appeared in the city of Wuhan late last year.
“But that said, the WHO also as an organisation does a lot of important work including here in our region in the Pacific and we work closely with them.
“We are not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater here, but they are also not immune from criticism and immune from doing things better.”