The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday said he "regrets" the decision of U.S. President Donald Trump to cut funding to the international health agency.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was reacting to Trump’s announcement yesterday that he was placing “hold on all funding to the WHO while its mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic is investigated.”
“We regret the decision of the president of the United States to order a halt in funding to the World Health Organization,” he told a press conference held via video link from Geneva.
“The United States of America has been a longstanding and generous friend to WHO, and we hope it will continue to be so,” said the WHO chief, who was accused by Trump of being China-centric.
According to Trump, China provides just about one-tenth of the WHO's funding -- $40 million -- in comparison to the U.S. share of $400-$500 million.
Tedros said that with support “from the people and government of the United States,” the WHO is working to improve the health of many of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.
“The WHO is reviewing the impact on our work of any withdrawal of U.S. funding, and will work with our partners to fill any financial gaps we face to ensure our work continues uninterrupted,” he added.
He went on to say that the WHO is not only fighting coronavirus but also "polio, measles, malaria, Ebola, HIV, tuberculosis, malnutrition, cancer, diabetes, mental health, and many others.”
Tedros started his address with a reminder that world’s nations met to form the UN in 1945 at the end of the World War II.
“One of the first things they discussed was establishing an organization to protect and promote the health of the world’s people,” he said.
By Peter Kenny in Geneva