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US suspension of funding to WHO a huge setback, says Guild of Medical Directors

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A TV grab taken from a video released by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attending a virtual news briefing on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) from the WHO headquarters in Geneva on April 6, 2020. (Photo by – / AFP)

President of the Guild of Medical Directors, Prof Femi Dokun-Babalola, has described the suspension of funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) by the United States as a massive setback.

Dokun-Babalola told The Guardian that the Americans are the largest single contributor to the WHO system, responsible for about 22% of the voluntary and assessed contribution.

“This totalled 513 million dollars in 2017,” Dokun-Babalola sid.

“It is difficult to see how the WHO will cope since it was already chronically underfunded. The reason given by Trump is puzzling: that the WHO was too “Chinacentric” and did not agree to a ban on travel from China to the States earlier on. This is puerile at best, but totally in tandem with the behaviour of this administration in serious world affairs. The US also pulled out of the Paris climate accord. This is not making America Great Again. This is making America grumpy Again”.

Dokun-Babalola who argued that America’s vaunted “leadership” in world affairs is now a thing of the past said, “All empires must end, and the end is in sight for “Pax Americana”.

When The contacted a top official at the WHO office in Abuja, explained that whatever would be the organization’s stand on the issue will come from their headquarters in Geneva.

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres while reacting to the development said it was “not the time” to be reducing funds to WHO or any other organisation fighting the pandemic.

“Now is the time for unity and for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences,” Guterres said.

Over the past week, President Trump had been under pressure over his handling of the coronavirus. He had repeatedly rebuked the global health body of promoting China’s “disinformation” about the virus that likely led to a wider outbreak.

On Tuesday, Trump announced that the U.S. would halt funding for the global health organisation, pending a review of WHO’s pandemic response.

The US has now reported more than 600,000 cases of coronavirus, the highest in the world with over 20,000 deaths.

However, there are arguments that U.S. attacks on the WHO would open the door to increased Chinese influence in the global health arena.

In 2017, China supported the election of current WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus over a U.S.-backed rival.


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