US President Donald Trump broke off relations with the World Health Organisation (WHO) at the end of last month, questioning the institution’s management of the epidemiological crisis caused by COVID-19.
Trump justified the decision, with his usual arrogance, that the United Nation’s (UN) agency – the unquestionable leader in addressing the current pandemic – had not carried out undefined ‘reforms’ that the USA had demanded, and reiterated accusations that WHO was “too lenient with China.”
Back in April, Trump had temporarily suspended the US government’s contributions to the WHO budget, estimated at some $450 million USD a year, which is equivalent to 15% of the agency’s finances.
At the time, the UN Secretary General António Guterres responded to the controversial decision insisting that it was “not the time” to cut funds,” while even other capitalist powers including Germany, Australia, Russia and others have spoken out against Washington’s absurd and untimely punitive measure.
The move brought heartfelt messages, including that of African Union Commission President Moussa Faki Mahamat, who called the decision “deeply regrettable,” and others more caustic and direct, such as that of China, which urged Washington to continue to comply with its obligations to the WHO and “not blame others for its own mistakes.”
Within the USA itself, the American Medical Association (AMA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, various civil society organisations, activist groups and human rights defenders expressed their opposition to the move.
Many have alleged the attacks on the WHO, along with blaming China, are part of Trump’s electoral strategy to deflect from the USA’s horrific death toll which now stands at over 112,000 killed by COVID-19, with 2 million infected as at 8 June 2020. Trump faces Joe Biden in elections in November this year.
Curiously, the so called ‘Anonymous’ movement blamed the WHO in a recent video for prioritising the interests of its largest donors over global public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Anonymous were responsible for recent hacks on the UN and WHO websites with anti-China messages.
What is certain is that the financing withdrawn by the United States will impact the organisation’s ability to function proactively, since these funds make up 27% of the budget for polio eradication, 19% of the total devoted to fighting tuberculosis, HIV, malaria and measles, and 23% of the budget set aside for emergency operations.
Specialists indicate that the WHO’s basic disease prevention programs, including those in Africa and Latin America, could be seriously compromised by the departure of its main donor.
The WHO had foreseen a situation like this and has sought ways to mitigate the damage to the institution’s finances. China has made a commitment to provide support directly or indirectly. What is hard to ignore is the incomprehensible attitude of an arrogant man who, sitting in the Oval Office, is dragging the country that has suffered the most deaths from the epidemic to the lowest levels of moral human values.
Challenge News Desk