April 15, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, United States president Donald Trump said he would halt funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) and accused the United Nations agency of “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus”.

The U.S. is the largest contributor to the WHO. Trump’s decision to pull funding from the global health agency comes as the number of confirmed cases worldwide nears 2 million and as the global death toll exceeds 127,600.

Responding to Trump’s remarks, Brandon Wu, Director of Policy & Campaigns at ActionAid USA, says:

“Once again Trump’s ‘America First’ ideology is undermining opportunities for global cooperation to get through this pandemic. Without minimizing the magnitude of the crisis here at home, cutting funding to the WHO isn’t going to directly hurt people in the U.S. We have the resources to handle this crisis, even if the Trump administration consistently chooses rich elites over everyday people.

“It’s poorer countries, especially in Africa, who will be hurt by Trump’s action to pull funding from the WHO. Even though the COVID-19 crisis has yet to reach its peak in many developing countries, they are already struggling to find the resources they need to cope with the pandemic, keep people healthy, and deal with the economic impacts in a way that doesn’t leave anyone behind.

“What developing countries need right now – in addition to a fully funded and functioning WHO – are debt relief and a massive influx of financial assistance with no strings attached, so that they can strengthen their public health systems and social safety nets.”

ActionAid is responding to the COVID-19 crisis in affected countries, working with long-standing local partnerships and prioritizing women’s leadership. Our global response includes providing personal protective equipment for frontline health workers, soap and other hygiene supplies for at-risk families, and radio broadcast, leaflets and posters to spread vital public health information. We are also offering food and cash transfers for those struggling to make ends meet due to the crisis.

ENDS

For more information and interviews, contact Sophia Har, Communications Manager at ActionAid USA at +16518151818 or sophia.har@actionaid.org.