Coronavirus: SA govt calls on US to reconsider decision to freeze WHO funding


The government has called on the United States to reconsider its decision to freeze funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In a media briefing on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump announced he was halting funding to WHO, citing "mismanaging" of the global coronavirus pandemic.

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The US is one of the global health organisation's leading donors. Last year, the US funding to the body amounted to $400 million. Trump has been critical of the WHO, saying that it favoured China, which he said only paid $40 million toward it.

The South African government, through the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, said it was very "concerned" and "alarmed" by the announcement. 

"South Africa is particularly alarmed that the decision is made amid a global health crisis that requires a full capacity WHO to provide support in combating the deadly Covid-19 pandemic. It is alarming that this very regrettable decision is announced as this deadly virus strikes Africa and the poorest and most vulnerable states."

US decision will devastate Africa's response to Covid-19

WHO's regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, has already painted a bleak picture of how disastrous it will be to for continents' response programmes to the pandemic and other health challenges, if Trump delivers on his threat, Fin24 reported. 

"With the coronavirus cases escalating at a rapid pace by the day, the announcement by the US to cut its 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 co-operation 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," the department wrote.

The government said it was hopeful that the US would reconsider its decision and rejoin the international community in fighting the pandemic.

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