United States President Donald Trump has lived up to his threat to suspend funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) after he criticized the organization’s response to the Covid-19 epidemic.
The president announced his decision to cut funding for the organization despite reactions against his earlier threat to do so. Mr. Trump said on Tuesday that the WHO had "failed in its basic duty" in its response to coronavirus.
According to the president, the WHO made deadly mistakes and took sides with China to cover up the epidemic while at an early stage. Mr. Trump accused the WHO of overly trusting China to battle the Coronavirus, rather than raise alarm immediately.
With the United States being the single highest donor to the WHO, the president believes that the organization owes the country a responsibility to protect its people, adding that if the WHO played its part to raise alarm early enough, the country would have reacted swiftly to prevent the Coronavirus from entering America.
It is on record that the US is the single largest funder of the WHO, providing more than $400m (£320m) each year - about 15% of its total budget.
To this end, the president has announced his decision to suspend funding to the organization. In a statement released by the White House yesterday, the president said the World Health Organization had "failed" the American people.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, the president said:
"I am directing my administration to halt funding while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization's role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus."
The decision to suspend funding for the organization has sparked reactions across the globe.
The chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Moussa Faki, has condemned US President Donald Trump's decision to halt its funding of the World Health Organization in a tweet; saying that the world needs the leadership of the WHO now more than ever in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The US government’s decision to suspend funding to WHO is deeply regrettable. Today more than ever, the world depends on WHO’s leadership to steer the global Covid-19 pandemic response. Our collective responsibility to ensure WHO can fully carry out its mandate has never been more urgent”; he said.
BBC Africa health editor Anne Mawathe says the move will have a devastating impact in Africa, where the WHO has played an especially important role in the fight against malaria, TB and HIV in Africa.
The WHO often helps fill the funding gaps in Africa's weak healthcare infrastructure, paying for much-needed essentials. It is also playing a key role in coordinating much of the coronavirus response in the continent, she added.
Critics have continued to condemn Mr. Trump’s actions, but the president’s supporters believe it was a right call to investigate the activities of WHO.
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