PIH Condemns Withholding WHO Funding

April 15, 2020 — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

BOSTON — PIH condemns the decision by President Trump to withhold funding to the WHO in the strongest terms possible. We demand an immediate reversal of this decision as we know the failure to do so will directly result in the deaths of many people around the world. This is an illogical and deadly decision.

This moment calls for significantly increased international cooperation, not less. We need expert mercy: combining compassion with evidence-based interventions that save the sick and slow down the spread. To be effective, outbreak responses must be merciful and humane.

The WHO urgently needs U.S. funding to scale up the response in the global South countries where epidemics are growing each day. Many countries rely on this funding and technical expertise because of the unjust economic order that was consolidated in the colonial period - founded on dispossession, slavery, and extraction – which still persists. Not only is this decision grounded in supremacy and ahistoricism, the crisis in the US will also get worse without a coordinated global response

Never has it been more urgent to ensure the WHO is fully resourced to lead a 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 pandemic has already disproportionately affected poor and marginalized communities in the US and around the world, and withholding funding to WHO will cause further devastation in countries where people are already more vulnerable due to socioeconomic inequities and weak health systems at a time when cases are increasing exponentially globally. If this decision is not quickly reversed it will result in excess deaths around the world both as a result of COVID-19 itself but also as a result of routine essential health services being negatively impacted.