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World Health Organisation Regrets United States’ Decision To Halt Funding

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

The Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) says he regrets the decision of the President of the United States to order a halt in funding to the United Nations health body.

The United States, he said, had been a longstanding and generous friend to the WHO, and expressed the hope that it would continue in that capacity.

“With support from the people and government of the United States, WHO works to improve the health of many of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people,” he stated, in his opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19, on Wednesday, April 15.

“WHO is not only fighting COVID-19. We’re also working to address polio, measles, malaria, Ebola, HIV, tuberculosis, malnutrition, cancer, diabetes, mental health and many other diseases and conditions.

“We also work with countries to strengthen health systems and improve access to life-saving health services.”

The global health body, he said, was reviewing the impact on its work of any withdrawal of US funding and would work with their partners to fill any financial gaps they faced and to ensure their work continued uninterrupted.

Mr Trump on Tuesday, April 14, accused the WHO of making deadly mistakes and overly trusting China and failing the US.

He announced to journalists that he was directing his Administration to halt funding the body, while a review was conducted to assess its role in “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the Coronavirus”.

Experts say this could deny the body some $400 million needed critically to mitigate the Covid-19 crisis, especially on poorer nations.

Dr Ghebreyesus reiterated the WHO’s commitment to public health, science and to serving all the people of the world without fear or favour.

“Our mission and mandate are to work with all nations equally, without regard to the size of their populations or economies.”

He said COVID-19 did not discriminate between rich nations and poor ones, large nations and small; declaring that it did not discriminate between nationalities, ethnicities or ideologies.

“Neither do we. This is a time for all of us to be united in our common struggle against a common threat – a dangerous enemy,” Dr Ghebreyesus stated.

“When we are divided, the virus exploits the cracks between us. We are committed to serving the world’s people, and to show accountability for the resources with which we are entrusted.”

In due course, he said, the WHO’s performance in tackling the pandemic would be reviewed by WHO’s Member States and the independent bodies that were in place to ensure transparency and accountability.

He said this was part of the usual process put in place by the organisation’s Member States.

“No doubt, areas for improvement will be identified and there will be lessons for all of us to learn. But for now, our focus – my focus – is on stopping this virus and saving lives.”

He expressed WHO’s gratitude to the many nations, organisations and individuals who had expressed their support and commitment to it in recent days, including their financial commitment.

“We welcome this demonstration of global solidarity, because solidarity is the rule of the game to defeat COVID-19,” Dr Ghebreyesus said.

“WHO is getting on with the job. We are continuing to study this virus every moment of every day, we are learning from many countries about what works, and we are sharing that information with the world.”

He said there were more than 1.5 million enrolments on WHO’s online courses through OpenWHO.org, and that they would continue to expand this platform to train many more millions so they could fight COVID effectively.

“Today we launched a new course for health workers on how to put on and remove personal protective equipment,” Dr Ghebreyesus said.

“Every day we bring together thousands of clinicians, epidemiologists, educators, researchers, lab technicians, infection prevention specialists and others to exchange knowledge on COVID-19.”

He said their technical guidance brought together the most up-to-date evidence for health ministers, health workers and individuals.

He said the first UN Solidarity Flight had taken off, transporting personal protective equipment, ventilators and lab supplies to many countries across Africa.

The Solidarity Flight is part of a massive effort to ship lifesaving medical supplies to 95 countries across the globe, in conjunction with the World Food Programme and other agencies.

They include UNICEF, the Global Fund, Gavi, and the United Nations Department of Operational Support, Unitaid.

The Solidarity Response Fund had also generated almost $150 million from 240,000 individuals and organisations.

“We will continue to work with every country and every partner, to serve the people of the world, with a relentless commitment to science, solutions and solidarity,” the Director-General said.

“Since the beginning, WHO has been fighting the pandemic with every ounce of our soul and spirit. We will continue to do that until the end. That’s our commitment to the whole world.”

Source: GNA

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