SA alarmed at Trump decision to cut funding to WHO amid global pandemic

Image via: Alex Wong / Gallo

SA calls on Trump to reconsider decision to cut WHO funding

South Africa is alarmed and disturbed that Donald Trump took the decision to cut funding to WHO amid a global health crisis.

SA alarmed at Trump decision to cut funding to WHO amid global pandemic

Image via: Alex Wong / Gallo

The South African government has expressed serious concern at the announcement that President of the United States Donald Trump cut funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO) with immediate effect.

South Africa is particularly alarmed that the decision was made amid a global health crisis that requires full capacity from the WHO to provide support in combatting the deadly pandemic. 

“It is alarming that this very regrettable decision is announced as this deadly virus strikes Africa and the poorest and most vulnerable states,” it said in a government statement on Thursday 16 April. 

There are now more than two million confirmed cases across the globe and there have been more than 134 000 deaths. On Wednesday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that the total number of confirmed cases in South Africa was at 2 506. An update for Thursday is yet to be announced.

Trump cuts WHO funding, SA highly disturbed 

The WHO, as the lead UN Agency, is mandated to promote health and to ensure universal health coverage globally. It is tasked to lead global efforts to suppress the transmission and stop the pandemic. 

It is also the sole global health agency, with the core focus on universal healthcare. 

“As such, its efforts to coordinate a genuinely global response against this scourge should be recognised and supported,” it said. 

With the cases escalating at a rapid pace by the day, the South African government says the announcement by Trump to cut funding to the WHO will have a significantly adverse impact on its programmes, and the world’s ability to fight and eliminate this pandemic. 

“This, at a time where now more than ever, the international community has to stand together and work in the spirit of human solidarity and cooperation with one another. We believe that, more than ever before, the WHO deserves increased support from member states in particular to bolster its efforts to suppress transmission and stop the pandemic,” it said.  

“We are hopeful that the government of the United States will reconsider its decision and re-join the international community in fighting this pandemic,” it added.  

According to SAFM News, the WHO said it will source funding from partners, other than the US — in response to Trump’s decision.

Here’s why the funding was cut 

According to AFP, Trump announced a freeze in US funding to WHO because he said it had been biased to China.

Trump said the WHO prevented transparency over the outbreak when it appeared in China, costing other countries crucial time to prepare and delaying decisions to stop international travel.

“Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China’s lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death,” said Trump.

“We have deep concerns whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible,” he said, adding that Washington would now “discuss what we do with all that money that goes to the WHO.”