AGENCIES, Geneva: The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) voiced confidence on Monday that the United States would continue funding his UN agency, despite President Donald Trump’s criticism of WHO’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration was re-evaluating US funding to the body, saying international organisations utilising US taxpayer money needed to deliver on their goals.
On several occasions, Trump has accused the WHO had become “China-centric.” China’s global influence within various international organizations is what is bothering the US administration.
The United States is the biggest overall donor to the Geneva-based WHO, contributing more than $400 million in 2019, roughly 15% of its budget.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, when asked by a US-based journalist about reports that Trump might “cut off” funding this week, said he had spoken with him two weeks ago.
“What I know is that he is supportive and I hope that the funding to WHO will continue. The relationship we have is very good and we hope that this will continue,” Tedros said.
Days after China informed it about cases of pneumonia of unknown origin on December 31, the WHO sent an alert to all member states on January 5, its top emergencies expert Dr Mike Ryan said.
“From that perspective the information was shared and very appropriate actions were taken in the United States in response to that alert,” he said.
The US has committed to provide the WHO with $893 million during its current two-year funding period, a state department official said.