Dear Global Health Colleagues,
On April 14, the US Administration announced its intention to withhold funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) pending an evaluation of its response to COVID-19. With over two million cases and almost 130,000 deaths, we are in the middle of the worst public health crisis of our lifetime. This is a dangerous step in the wrong direction and will ultimately affect the most vulnerable communities around the world, particularly in Low and Middle-Income countries where governments and health workers rely heavily on WHO. I am a part of a group trying to get the G20 to step in via a Call to Action. Well over 100 organizations and health leaders have already signed a letter which be accessed here. Please consider putting on your website or sending to your congressperson.
The WHO is playing an irreplaceable role right now as a global coordinator of the coronavirus response. They have provided global leadership, technical guidance, training programs to healthcare workers, millions of PPE supplies and diagnostics, and are coordinating clinical trials and research to rapidly develop a COVID-19 vaccine. And they are doing all of this on a shoestring budget. The US is one of the largest supporters of the WHO; pulling their funding in the middle of a global pandemic is short-sighted and will be absolutely detrimental. I urge the US Administration to reconsider its decision and ask that you all join me in this effort.
In solidarity against COVID-19,
Drs. Ben and A. Jess Shenson Professor of Medicine and Tropical Diseases
Director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health
Senior Associate Dean for Global Health, Stanford University