Statement on U.S. Withdrawal from WHO

Posted on Jul 8, 2020

health care is a human right sign at State House rally in Boston
Partners In Health calls on the U.S. Congress to ensure appropriations for contributions to the World Health Organization remain. Photo by Jon Lascher / Partners In Health

Partners In Health joins the chorus of public health and human rights groups opposing the decision of the Trump administration to terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the strongest terms possible. The irresponsible decision to withdraw funding to the WHO will have disastrous consequences, both weakening the collective global response to COVID-19 in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic and causing further unnecessary death and suffering by undermining other critical areas of the WHO’s five-year program of work. Withdrawing its membership from the WHO will serve to erode the U.S.’s global credibility and influence.

Never has it been more urgent to ensure the WHO is fully resourced to lead this global pandemic response. The indispensable work of the WHO in the COVID-19 response is in the interest of all Americans, just as it is in the world’s interest. This decision arrives after May’s World Health Assembly, one of the most important in the 73-year history of the WHO, in which all 194 member states voted to promote an equity agenda supporting access to diagnostics, treatment, personal protective equipment for health workers, and an eventual vaccine in the global pursuit to contain COVID-19. This is vital work, which PIH supports and advocates for on the international stage.

Call on Congress

We call on the United States Congress to take bipartisan action to ensure appropriations for contributions to WHO remain, and to fully consider the devastating consequences of this decision. Effective global coordination and capacity to prevent, mitigate and respond to health crises, including infectious disease outbreaks, requires a strong WHO.

"This is, above all, a human crisis that calls for solidarity."

As Secretary-General António Guterres has said, "This is, above all, a human crisis that calls for solidarity." Now more than ever, we need global solidarity and collaboration to contain the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that the most marginalized and vulnerable receive preferential access to these collective global goods.

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