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Why Does Trump Want to Leave the WHO? And Why it Affects the Whole World?

Written by Rehmat Kaur, a grade 9 student.

On May 29th, US President Donald Trump held a press conference where he blamed the World Health Organisation for showing incompetency in controlling the spread of the Coronavirus…

By I Kid You Not , in News Politics , at June 10, 2020 Tags: , , , , , , ,

Written by Rehmat Kaur, a grade 9 student

On May 29th, US President Donald Trump held a press conference where he blamed the World Health Organisation for showing incompetency in controlling the spread of the Coronavirus. He stated that the organisation was wholly controlled by China and announced that the US would end all relations with the WHO. According to him, the funds originally reserved for the WHO would be contributed to other global health organisations.  This will be a major blow to the WHO as the US contributes around 15% of their total funds.

The World Health Organisation is an agency of the United Nations responsible for managing public health in all 150 countries which come under the UN. Its headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO supports research on diseases, coordinates campaigns to control epidemics, and directs the use of vaccines and drugs. It has played a major role in the spreading of information and awareness about the Coronavirus. As the agency responsible for suggesting quarantine measures, it has guided many countries on imposing lockdowns.  The WHO has also provided information about the maintenance of hygiene, the use of masks, what to do when COVID-19 is suspected, and how to seek help depending on the severity of the symptoms.

President Trump started the talk about terminating the US’ relationship with the WHO in April 2020. He gave them 30 days to show an improvement in their response after which he intended to permanently cut off funding. The reason behind his actions was that although the US contributed near $450 million to the WHO, the well-being of US citizens was not made a priority. He criticised them for not stressing on the importance of a travel ban in China and declared that the organisation was a ‘puppet of China’. Experts have predicted that this withdrawal of funds by the US will affect more than just the ongoing pandemic. Many developing countries currently rely on the WHO to assist their overburdened healthcare systems. Officials predict this decision on behalf of the US will slow down their fight against the pandemic greatly. It will inhibit the development of a vaccine against COVID-19. It will also affect the fight against diseases like Tuberculosis and Polio. The re-emergence of these diseases alongside the current epidemic will be disastrous on an unimaginable scale. The WHO will also lose the valuable contributions of numerous US scientists.

This withdrawal from the WHO means that the United States will lose all voting rights and will no longer have a say in major global health-related decisions taken by the WHO. Many have spoken out against President Trump’s actions, including Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. On behalf of the European Union, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell have also urged Trump to consider the repercussions of his decision. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has stated that the WHO appreciates the US’ many contributions in the past and wishes for their collaboration to continue. Questions have also arisen regarding whether Trump has the authority to make such a decision, as the United States Congress has the final say in matters related to funding. In times like these, countries all over the world need to support each other and work towards overcoming the pandemic. The United States’ exit from the WHO has been criticised by many, and for a good reason. The US is still the country worst affected by the Coronavirus, and while losing the support of the US will affect the WHO, losing the support of the WHO will also impact the US.              

Written by Rehmat Kaur, a grade 9 student

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