ADDIS ABEBA – US President Donald Trump’s move to halt funding to the World Health Organization has prompted condemnation from world leaders including the African Union Commission.
Chairperson of AUC Moussa Faki Mahamat has appealed for more cooperation and unity.
“The US government decision to suspend funding to WHO is deeply regrettable,” he said in a message twitted on Wednesday afternoon.
Trump announced on Wednesday that the US would halt payments to the United Nations body that amounted to $400 million in 2019, roughly 15 percent of its budget.
He said it would be frozen pending a review into the WHO’s role in “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus”.
In response, Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, said “We regret the decision of the President of the United States to order a halt in funding to” the UN health body.
“For now, our focus, my focus, is on stopping this virus and saving lives,” said the Director-General. “The WHO is getting on with the job.”
– Untimely –
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said it was “not the time to reduce the resources for the operations of the World Health Organization or any other humanitarian organization in the fight against the virus”.
“It is my belief that the World Health Organization must be supported, as it is absolutely critical to the world’s efforts to win the war against COVID-19,” he said.
Nearly 2 million people globally have been infected and more than 127,000 have died since the disease emerged in China late last year, according to reports.
“Today more than ever, the world depends on WHO’s leadership to steer the global #Covid_19 pandemic response,” AUC’s Mahamat said.
“Our collective responsibility to ensure WHO can fully carry out its mandate has never been more urgent,” he added.
Reports say U.S.’s latest move will have a devastating impact in Africa, where the WHO has played an especially important role in the fight against malaria, TB and HIV.
Image: Mahamat, the chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Mahamat – [photo file/Wikimedia Commons]