World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday, April 22 expressed hopes that the United States will reconsider its freeze in funding for the UN health agency. He further stated that by providing aid amid such unprecedented time, US will not just help others but also their own citizens to stay safe. Furthermore, he reportedly said that he vows to keep working on ‘saving lives’ despite US lawmakers calling for his resignation.
Tedros said, “I will continue to work day and night because this is a blessed work, actually, and responsibility saving lives, and I will focus on that”.
Meanwhile, Dr Mike Ryan, WHO’s emergencies chief also said that US pause would impact core agency activities like child immunisations, efforts to eradicate polio, and essential health services and trauma management in the vulnerable population of the world. However, a group of Republican lawmakers in the House of Representative last week reportedly suggested that US President Donald Trump should condition any voluntary US contributions to the WHO this year on Tedros’ resignation.
Earlier, Trump had claimed that WHO was very China-centric, before temporarily halting the US' funding of the organization as it ‘failed in its basic duty and it must be held accountable’. In response, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged the United States to join with China in combating the disease rather than indulging in a blame game saying 'If you don't want any more body bags, then you refrain from politicising it'. Backing WHO, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Spokesperson said that the US State Department was speaking with political motives and neglecting facts.
Continuing his tirade against the WHO, Trump recently also took to Twitter to question why the WHO ignored an email from Taiwanese health officials in late December about Coronavirus. He continued to question why WHO did not take decisive action in January and February. Trump himself has been criticised by all for halting funding to WHO amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit the US the hardest. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also defended the work of the WHO.
(With AP inputs)