Global Health Council (GHC) released the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s announcement of its intention to withhold funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) pending a review of its actions in response to COVID-19.

WHO is playing a vital role in the current pandemic, helping countries around the world treat, test, and protect their citizens from COVID-19. The agency’s efforts are especially important in low resource and humanitarian settings with limited health infrastructure. To have the pandemic take hold in those places puts vulnerable groups at risk and threatens progress made worldwide. WHO is also leading global coordination of the United Nation’s COVID-19 Supply Chain Task Force for the procurement of pandemic commodities such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and lab kits. Withholding funding would harm the global response and put health workers on the frontlines at a disadvantage when they most need international support.

According to GHC’s President and Executive Director, Loyce Pace, “WHO is providing critical leadership at an unprecedented time. Absent their efforts, countries around the world wouldn’t have essential testing kits and supplies, health care standards and protocols, or a roadmap for research and development to combat this pandemic.”

WHO may not be perfect – as no institution truly can be. In fact, GHC has long encouraged its leadership to adopt various reforms that improve their operations and outcomes. The Director-General has been vocal in his positive response to those and other recommendations. However, the time for an investigation to determine what went right and wrong with their COVID-19 response is not in the midst of a pandemic. There will be an opportunity to review lessons learned after we have exhausted all efforts to save lives and put this crisis behind us. “As Dr. Tedros has said, we can’t get through this global crisis without solidarity,” added Pace. “That means all of us respecting each other’s lifesaving roles – from health workers to government administrators – and standing with WHO as they chart a course forward for us to make it through this fight.”

Now is not the time to defund the WHO, given the fact that this pandemic has not yet peaked around the world, in many places that do not have the resources to manage the massive response necessary to control the spread of COVID-19. Global Health Council urges President Trump to resume funding immediately.

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About Global Health Council
Established in 1972, Global Health Council (GHC) is the leading membership organization supporting and connecting advocates, implementers, and stakeholders around global health priorities worldwide. GHC represents the collaborative voice of the community on key issues; we convene stakeholders around key priorities and actively engage with decision makers to influence global health policy. Learn more at www.globalhealth.org. Global Health Council published “A Guide to U.S. Investments in Global Health: Transforming Communities Worldwide,” comprehensive consensus recommendations available at www.ghbb.globalhealth.org.

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