The World Health Organization responded late on Wednesday to US President Donald Trump’s decision to cut funding to the global health body. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that he regretted the US President’s decision and that the organisation would work with their partners to fill any financial gaps.
Ghebreyesus said that the WHO’s mandate was to “work with all nations equally, without regard to the size of their populations or economies”.
“COVID-19 does not discriminate between rich nations and poor, large nations and small,” he said. “It does not discriminate between nationalities, ethnicities or ideologies. Neither do we. This is a time for all of us to be united in our common struggle against a common threat – a dangerous enemy.”
Ghebreyesus also said that the WHO’s management of the pandemic will be reviewed at a later stage and added, “No doubt, areas for improvement will be identified and there will be lessons for all of us to learn”.
However, he emphasised that for now WHO was “getting on with the job” and that there was no time to waste in the battle against the novel coronavirus.
“... for now, our focus – my focus – is on stopping the coronavirus and saving lives", he said.
Three vaccines for COVID-19 have begun clinical trials, with 70 more being developed and the WHO is also examining ventilation methods and the use of oxygen in infected patients, he said.
Meanwhile, The Gates Foundation has announced an additional USD 150 million to the global response to COVID-19 after founders Bill and Melinda Gates on Wednesday criticised Trump’s decision to withdraw funding.