Donald Trump has cut down the funding of WHO: Is it fair?

Ankit Kumar
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Present times call for a global unity not a funding-cut to the body that looks after international public health


The US President Donald Trump declared on Tuesday that the US is cutting funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) during the global pandemic COVID-19. He accused WHO of failing to do enough to stop the virus from spreading globally when it first emerged in China. A week after giving the indication of cutting the funding, he literally did it on 14th April.

Donald Trump had earlier blasted the WHO for being “China-centric” and alleged that WHO had criticized the travel ban from and on China when the pandemic was just taking off to other places from the city of Wuhan, China. Generally, WHO doesn’t indulge in criticizing national policies of countries but it was specifically clear what specific criticism Trump alluded.

WHO runs on a two-year budget cycle. The budget to carry out its program for the year 2020 and 2021 is $4.8 billion which means 2.4 billion per year. It gets donations from its member states and volunteers.  The United States contributed about $900 million to WHO in the year 2018-19. This represents almost one-fifth of its total $4.4 billion budget for specific period years.

Why Donald Trump should not have cut the funding of WHO? 

The World is going through an unprecedented global health emergency currently because of the novel coronavirus. It is time for all the global-level institutions and countries together to fight the battle. Global pandemics calls for global solutions. Coronavirus doesn’t require a visa to enter a country and its continued transmission anywhere poses a threat to a healthy person anywhere in the world.

Some believe that we are still in the early phase of coronavirus, the situation is only going to worsen. Countries are currently focussing on containing the initial wave of outbreaks. If a country becomes successful to eradicate coronavirus from its place, it will need intensive international cooperation and a body which can execute the same in other countries. The World Health Organization is the only organization in the world with the network and expertise to effectively perform tasks which are required to defeat the deadly virus.

Read more: India is helping Malaysia and here is why it matters?

Worst time to cut funding

There could not have been a more inappropriate time for cutting the funding for this organization. If Trump had complaints with the WHO, he could have asked the director-general of WHO, Tedros Adhanom to step down, who is believed to have a soft corner for China.

Tedros hails from Ethiopia and is the former health minister. He is believed to special liking to China because China is investing in millions in Ethiopia. It is working towards a dream project of road and Infrastructure, known as a part of OROP (one belt one road initiative) and also it is funding WHO projects in Ethiopia.

The whole world, especially developing countries are looking at WHO for help when a cure/vaccine is found. If Donald Trump wanted to cut funding to WHO, he should have done it if WHO was caught at fault or at least when the world would have known how to fight the COVID-19.

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