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US to sever all ties with the WHO

The World Health Organization has always been dependent on the United States for the inflow of funds as it contributes around $107 - $119 million a year and has been doing so for over the last ten years and has also contributed an extra amount of $400 million a year when required, making it the largest contributor of the organization. President Donald Trump has said in his speech that the US would be terminating all its relationships with the WHO and redirecting those funds to other urgent global public health needs which deserve the money. President Trump’s main reason for taking this step, according to his speech, has been the way that China has handled the coronavirus outbreak and the way it has tried to cover it up and allowed it to spread throughout the world with no measures to stop the travel of the people who may have been infected. He has also claimed that the WHO is completely controlled by China and that they have been accomplices in the spreading of this disease leading to a pandemic.

On the 19th of May, President Trump had given the WHO 30 days to ‘reform’ itself but had not made what he meant by reform very clear. Even the WHO had not understood what they were supposed to achieve with this but were keen to make a change, mainly because losing the funding of the United States would amount to huge losses. One of the biggest voluntary contributions was made by the US in 2018 – 19 of $893 million. The WHO will need some of the other developed countries like the UK or Germany from its 195 member countries to pitch in with funds further to fill this gap but at the time of a pandemic, the US has put the health of most of the world at risk. President Trump had given a time frame of 30 days but he then decided to revoke his decision and pull out from the WHO in just 10 days as he felt that because of the WHO apparently misleading the world continuously and was still continuing to do so, countless lives have been taken and a huge amount of economic hardship had been inflicted across the world. A lot of world leaders had in fact seen a US exit from the WHO coming for months as President Trump had increased his criticism for the WHO considerably. President Trump had initially commended China and WHO on the way that they had handled the outbreak initially but then, started condemning them from mid – April, that came as a warning sign, which led to a lot of speculation among countries and then President Trump finally confirmed their worst fears by pulling US out of the WHO at the worst possible time.

Groups representing many infectious diseases, pediatricians and many others have all protested against this decision and say that President Trump has made it considerably harder for the world to fight the pandemic as the World Health Organization at this moment is currently leading the worldwide vaccine development and the drug trials along with the CDC from the United States to combat the pandemic and it will come to a screeching halt because of the sudden lack of funds. The funds were already halted by President Trump when he gave the WHO the 30-day ultimatum which already pushed the trials back considerably, but they may have to be halted temporarily till the WHO can successfully figure out a way to get funds at such short notice. The American Academy of Pediatrics has also said that this decision of President Trump’s Administration could also carry a lot of grave risks for many children in different parts of the world as it could cause a surge in the cases of malaria and polio and will further delay a lot of life - saving vaccination campaigns.

It is still not very clear if President Trump can actually take this step or not. He needs to see if he needs Congressional approval. A lot of Democrats in Congress have said that it is a whim of one man, and the decision has been taken by one man with no consultation with any of the other government leaders. The reaction amongst the Congress came around very fast and it was completely negative. The WHO is not a perfect organization, said Ami Bera, the Democrat of California and that the world will become unsafe, more than it already is, with this decision of the United States and that President Trump has received little or no support for his decision.

All of his claims are alleged, there is no solid evidence of any of his claims saying that China or the WHO have misled the world or have made any mistake in the way they have handled the outbreak. At the end of the day, the world needs to stick together to fight this outbreak as the coronavirus does not care about borders and only unity will get the world through this hard time.

Author : Surabhi Kumar

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