Health

US president threatens permanent withdrawal of WHO funds

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U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to permanently pull funding from the World Health Organisation (WHO) stipulating 30 days for it to commit to “major substantive improvements”, according to a letter to the WHO chief shared by Trump on his Twitter account.

Trump set out what he called “repeated missteps” by the organisation, in a four-page letter to WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, claiming hat the WHO shares the responsibility for a large number of deaths in the crisis.

He alleged that WHO’s mismanagement and reliance on information from China had dramatically worsened the epidemic and spread it globally.

Trump, therefore, said he would make a temporary freeze of funding permanent and might also reconsider U.S. membership of the organisation if he saw no improvements at the end of the 30-day deadline.

“The only way forward for the World Health Organisation is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China,” the U.S. president asserted.

He said discussions with the organisation on how to reform the WHO had already begun, but the action is promptly needed, as there is no time to waste.

“I cannot allow American taxpayer dollars to continue to finance an organisation that, in its present state, is so clearly not serving America’s interests,” Trump concluded.

The U.S. president faced international criticism when he announced in April that he would be halting funding to the WHO while a 60- to 90-day review took place, also over how the White House initially responded to the virus.
Trump has repeatedly accused the organisation of failing in its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

He has said that U.S. taxpayers provided between 400 and 500 million dollars a year to the organisation, adding that funding is largely appropriated by Congress.

Experts have it that WHO relied too heavily on information from China in the initial stages of the outbreak, hence Trump’s criticism.

Reported by: Fatimah Oyesanmi

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