GENEVA / ZURICH (Reuters) – The head of the World Health Organization said Wednesday that he regretted President Trump’s decision to raise funds for the agency and called on the global unit to fight the new coronavirus pandemic.
US President Donald Trump’s move to end WHO funding for the treatment of the infection led to a conviction from world leaders on Wednesday for global infections recorded exceeding the 2 million mark.
“The United States has been a longstanding and generous friend of WHO, and we hope it will continue to do so,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference. “We regret the decision by the President of the United States to end WHO funding.”
He said the agency would assess its performance in the crisis as after any such event.
“In due course, WHO’s efforts to tackle this pandemic will be reviewed by WHO Member States and independent bodies set up to ensure transparency and accountability,” he said.
In addition to fighting COVID-19, WHO is helping many of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people who struggle with disease and other illnesses, Tedros said. His programs include polio, measles, malaria, Ebola, HIV, tuberculosis, malnutrition, cancer, diabetes and mental health, he added.
The United States is the largest donor to the WHO and will provide more than $ 400 million in 2019, which is about 15% of its budget.
Tedros added, “WHO is reviewing the impact of US funding withdrawals on our work. We will work with partners to address financial gaps and ensure that our work continues without interruption.”
But now was the time for the world to be united in their common struggle against the outbreak he described as a “dangerous enemy”.
Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO’s leading emergency expert, said there would be opportunities in the coming weeks and months to discuss WHO’s budget with the other 193 countries.
“We focus on doing a very important job, and that suppresses this virus and saves lives,” said Ryan.
“There are so many thousands of brave front-line workers in the world today who do this. These are all hands on deck. There is no public or private sector. Everyone has something to bring. ”
Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and John Revill; Edited by Michael Shields, William Maclean
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