The President of the United States, Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he will suspend U.S. funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) alleging its role in “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of coronavirus”.
He added, “Everybody knows what’s going on there!” Till now, in the USA more than 26,000 people have died because of CoronaVirus and there is no sign of the graph getting flat anywhere soon.
President Trump claimed that the World Health Organization was slow to act and failed to punctually declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Also, the information passed on by the World Health Organization proved out to be disastrous in many western countries which adhered to WHO guidelines of ‘no bans of foreign national travels from China’ and misinformation about ‘human to human transfer’. He said, “early accurate information from the W.H.O could have saved thousands and thousands of lives”.
Trump additionally mentioned that the US reserves $400 million to $500 million to the World Health Organization consistently, while China “contributes generally $40 million.” Trump didn’t indicate how much money he intends to put on hold. It is true that in the W.H.O’s 2-year, 2018-19 budget cycle, the U.S. was the biggest single contributor, giving nearly $900 million of WHO’s $5.6 billion budget. All in all, the White House can defer dispensing funds previously appropriated by Congress for a particular reason. Trump might have the option to redirect a portion of the assets appropriated to WHO to other comparable purposes without getting express consent from Congress. However, it would probably be hard for the White House to recover any funds previously sent to WHO.
Both Criticism and Support for stopping the U.S. funding to the World Health Organization
With Confirmed infections neared 2 million, with more than 130,000 dead, the decision to cut funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) has been labelled by many health experts as “crime against humanity” and a “highly objectionable”.
“We need the ‘World Health Organization’ more than ever to support all the countries worldwide, especially the low and middle-income ones,” said Professor Devi Sridhar, a renowned health expert at the University of Edinburgh in the UK who termed the decision “short-sighted”.
A senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, Dr Amesh Adalja said the “WHO did make mistakes and may need reform but that work needed to take place after the Corona crisis had passed.” He questioned the timing of such a decision.
While President Trump already gave hint last week about stopping the U.S. funding to W.H.O to which the agency’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus responded by strongly urging world leaders ‘not to politicize the pandemic’.
Not to mention that President Trump is battling with criticism for his own response to the Corona outbreak and this decision has divided the opinions of people from all over the country and world.
China has been broadly criticized both by the international community and its own residents for hushing doctors in Wuhan, where the episode surfaced, in late December.
The WHO has also been attacked over its proceeding with avoidance of Taiwan from enrollment since Beijing believes it to be Chinese territory. Trump’s choice to cut financing was welcomed in many quarters all over, including by the Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong, who considered the WHO an “arm of Chinese diplomacy”.
The role of WHO has been doubtful and with China suppressing information, research, studies and lacking transparency adding up to the fuel. Many global leaders smell something wrong though with no justifiable evidence up to now!