President Donald Trump has suspended funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) while the agency’s response to the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic is investigated. The president made the announcement on April 14, accusing the group of “mismanaging and covering up the spread of COVID-19″ that “caused so much death.”
The president slammed the international agency’s response to the outbreak. He noted that “one of the most dangerous and costly decisions from the WHO was its disastrous decision to oppose travel restrictions from China and other nations.” Because “he was not convinced” by its explanations, Trump moved ahead and halted travel from China in the early days of the virus.
“This is an evaluation period, but in the meantime, we’re putting a hold on all funds going to World Health. We’ll be able to take that money and channel it to the areas that most need it,” he said.
The U.S. provides an estimated $500 million annually to the organization. Since much of this funding is assigned by Congress, it is unclear how he plans to withhold WHO funding. Will Congress go along with his plan to stop WHO funding?
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres argued that now is not the time to cut resources in the battle against COVID-19. Guterres believes that reviews can be conducted once the crisis is over, “but now is not the time.”
“It is also not the time to reduce the resources for the operations of the World Health Organization or any other humanitarian organization in the fight against the virus,” Guterres stated.
Health officials have also blasted Trump’s move, saying it could cost lives. On the other hand, the WHO has been criticized for its slow response to the outbreak, and for relying on inaccurate data from China.
The World Health Organization is an agency of the United Nations, founded in 1948. It is responsible for monitoring international health, researching and recommending health policy, and missions to improve health across the globe. The organization is made up of 194 member countries, which provide its funding, along with private donors.
Is the WHO a valuable organization working hard to stop the spread of COVID-19, or is it a corrupt and poorly run institution? President Trump evidently thinks it has serious problems, but U.S. officials will conduct a “thorough” investigation that should last 60 to 90 days.