- WHO now has more than 7,000 people working in 150 state offices, six regional offices and Geneva headquarters.
- China said it had been transparent and shared information with WHO and other countries, including the United States.
GENEVA / LONDON: US President Donald Trump told his government to temporarily stop funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) amidst a COVID-19 pandemic caused by a new corona virus.
This is what we do and don’t know what this means for WHO and its programs around the world:
* Founded in 1948, US agencies have a mandate to improve health standards throughout the world. That is credited with leading a 10-year campaign to eliminate smallpox in the 1970s and has coordinated the fight against epidemics including Ebola.
* WHO is currently leading the struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic, providing countries with advice on how to curb its spread. It also coordinates global research on potential drugs and vaccines against COVID-19.
* WHO now has more than 7,000 people working in 150 state offices, six regional offices and Geneva headquarters.
* The WHO budget is biennial, covering a two-year period.
* The United States is the largest overall donor to WHO and has contributed more than $ 800 million by the end of 2019 for the biennial funding period 2018-2019. The Gates Foundation is the second largest donor, followed by Britain.
* Funding comes in two forms:
– The so-called “assessed contributions” of member countries, aimed at maintaining the core functions of WHO
– and voluntary contributions, targeted at specific programs such as the eradication of polio and the fight against AIDS, malaria and other infectious diseases.
* At this stage, it is not clear whether the United States intends to stop voluntary contributions, valued contributions, or both.
* The WHO 2020-2021 budget, approved by the health minister last May, amounts to nearly $ 4.85 billion and represents a 9% increase from the previous two-year period.
* It is not clear whether the United States has made all or part of its payments towards the 2020-2021 budget, but the assessed contributions are usually made at the end of the year.
* Nearly $ 1 billion from the 2020-2021 budget is for WHO operations throughout Africa, the poorest continent in the world with the highest infant mortality rate from vaccine-preventable diseases.
* Eradication of polio remains the main WHO program and the United States is a major contributor to this effort.
* The WHO emergency program also seeks to eradicate outbreaks of other deadly infectious diseases including Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
* Trump has taken an increasingly critical stance towards WHO, accusing him of promoting China’s “disinformation” about the virus and saying that it is likely to cause a wider outbreak than it should.
* China says it has been transparent and is sharing information with WHO and other countries, including the United States. The WHO says China is sharing information quickly and cooperating in research and other fields. “Focus on the epic struggle now and leave the blame until later,” WHO COVID-19 special envoy David Nabarro said at an online conference on Wednesday, without naming the United States or Trump.
* The agency has faced controversy before. He was accused of overreacting to the 2009-10 H1N1 flu pandemic, and then faced harsh criticism for not reacting quickly enough to the widespread Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014 that killed more than 11,000 people.