USA’s Stoppage of WHO Funds and What Can WHO do to Restart It?

Trump Administration has decided to pause its 400M USD funding to the WHO during the time of this crisis. PC: AlJazeera.com

COVID 19 is a raging fire. Grim news on its spread, increasing infected cases and toll on humans from over 200 countries around the world pours in every minute and sets a pale of gloom and uncertainty on all of us.

The invisible, lifeless substance spreads fast from one human to another neutralizing their breathing power, drawing them to death. Staying indoors to safeguard ourselves is not new to mankind, but forcing us to stay in closed spaces, our freedom of movement curtailed all part of a mechanism to fight this deadly disease has made this pandemic appear monstrous.


WHO: 

World Health Organization (WHO) is responsible for preventing eruption of diseases that affect human health through organized efforts and effective practices among her member countries. 

It is also responsible for improving the quality of life through prevention and treatment of diseases. In the past, WHO has played a prominent role in combating communicable diseases in Asia and Africa

WHO is funded through contributions from member countries and voluntary organisations and as of 2019, the net worth of the organization is 4.2 Billion USD. 

WHO uses this fund on vaccines, communicable disease containment and above all public Health in underdeveloped countries. 

Trump’s reasoning for pausing the funds to WHO

In the aftermath of COVID 19, US President Trump has remarked that US will stop its contribution to WHO which is around 900M USD per year. US President’s stand is that WHO which holds the responsibility to caution the world, failed to do so in the case of COVID 19. 

His administration believes that it was this blunder that has resulted in total deaths crossing 1.5 lakhs, with infected cases at 27 lakhs and rising. Besides it has forced several countries to adhere to lock down, which has resulted in enormous loses to the economies across the world.

WHO’s contention

WHO has come out to say that by late Dec 2019 they were informed by China and took on the task of preventing the spread of Corona Virus. 

By 31st Dec, they had declared it as a pandemic and appraised all member countries of the seriousness. By end Jan 2020, when US has had seven infected cases and no deaths, warning signals from WHO were loud and clear about the stringent actions were needed along with restricting free movement of people. 

But the Trump administration took these warnings lightly and even declared that lock down as was being done in other countries, was not possible in US. It was not until it was too late, that the administration woke up and took some necessary steps. By then however, the damage was already done. 

US further contends that WHO needs to come out with a white paper that points the blame towards the perpetrators of this pandemic. WHO on its part has justified its complete concentration and energy in controlling the pandemic across the globe. 

At a time when WHO is fighting tooth and nail to win over this global pandemic, it needs more than normal contribution from its members to formulate and implement newer strategies.

There is a high chance that several other countries who are currently facing economic fallout might join US in reducing or completely stopping their funding to the WHO. 

This will bring a crippling effect on the financial health of WHO that holds bears the responsibility of empowering healthcare facilities across the world. 

The world is grappling in the dark with no concrete estimation as to when this pandemic will reach its end. While optimistic estimations suggest that it would still take three to four months from now, some other estimations have given timelines almost up to 2024.

All said and done, world is perched so perilously that it cannot afford loss of lives and loss of working days, both of which will cripple the economy. 

To fight this battle the world needs to know whether this virus was deliberately created and if so it needs to know who the perpetrators are and what their motives were. The World Health Organisation should work on this without further delay. 

Zeroing on the perpetrators if any, at the earliest should not be done to pin point blame on any particular country or ethnicity but to help widen our understanding of this virus.

US blames the Chinese regime as the origin of this virus was from its territory. While China as a counter has rubbished it blaming the origin of the virus on an American lab. This war of words will take the world nowhere near the truth and a through investigation by an impartial agency could resolve this conflict. 

Armed forces use the epithet, “Waging peace is more difficult than waging war”. Extending this analogy, it can be asserted that Controlling the growth of virus is more difficult than Spurring growth of a sagging economy, which is its direct effect.

World leaders at this point should avoid resorting to knee jerk actions and utterances. In the US which even though US President has announced stoppage of funds, it’s legality is being debated, especially because the US congress was not asked to approve this decision.

In this hour of crisis, nations across the world need to come together and wage a war on COVID 19 without bring in divisions that will lead to the further weakening of WHO.

S Raghavan

S Raghavan is a Renewable Energy analyst and Scribe - fields of interest being Politics, Women welfare and development, Rural Development and Climate Change.

 

The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Tilak Chronicle and TTC Media Pvt Ltd.

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