What will be the impact of Trump’s funding cuts to WHO?
US President Donald Trump has been condemned by world leaders for cutting off funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
World leaders say that this will seriously affect the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Trump accused the WHO of “failing in its basic duty” and that it coordinated with China to cover up the initial extent of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The United Nations health agency is funded by 194 member states, with the US making the largest contribution. Trump’s decision came as no surprise after the world watched how he handled this health crisis, despite being the worst hit country.
Playing the blame game is commonplace when dealing with high pressure situations. However, this is a global pandemic where all governments, organisations, and political parties need to work together.
The WHO is a specialized agency under the UN umbrella. Its broad mandate is to ensure universal healthcare, monitor global health risks, coordinate the response to global health emergencies, and to keep the world safe. Following the outbreak in China the actions of the WHO could be considered ineffective or inefficient, i.e. the WHO did not act quickly enough or with sufficiently accurate data to prevent the spread from China.
With the US being the largest contributor to the WHO, it can be argued that Trump’s decision was not in vain. The WHO may need to reconsider its strategy and approach to how it responds to global crises to make sure that something this disastrous does not happen again. There is an argument to separate the WHO from the UN, repopulate its team and refund it…or close it completely. Misleading the general public, an inability to collect accurate data and a lethal slowness in its response, hardly gives it a strong defense for its continued existence in its current form.