President Trump announced Friday that the United States would end its relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations agency tasked with global public health. The following statement is attributable to Donna McKay, executive director at Physicians for Human Rights:
“President Trump’s colossal mistake to try to terminate the United States’ relationship with the World Health Organization is deeply misguided, comes at the worst possible time, and jeopardizes the health of millions around the globe.
“The global health emergency we face – the most profound in a century – demands a global response. The World Health Organization provides lifesaving global assistance and coordination, from preparedness to health systems strengthening to vaccine development. The WHO has indeed made mistakes in its response to COVID-19, as have many countries, including the United States. However, the WHO is conducting an independent investigation of its response to date and of ways to make improvements going forward.
“There is absolutely no other entity or organization that could do what the WHO can do, so all countries should work together to make it more effective. It’s important to remember that the WHO is a platform for cooperation among countries. The WHO is only as effective as its member states make it. Walking away from this critical institution in the midst of an historic pandemic will hurt people both in the United States and around the world.”
“President Trump seems to be creating a diversion to distract from the more than 100,000 people in the Unites States already killed by COVID-19 and the administration’s own delayed and shambolic response to the pandemic. Instead of weakening our collaboration with other countries and the WHO, the United States should show that it is an important global player by engaging in robust information-sharing on transmission rates, mitigation strategies, vaccine development, and equitable access to medical equipment, vaccines, and treatment.”
“As we face one of the greatest challenges of our time, the president should listen to health and scientific experts rather than promote non-scientific treatments, lash out at scapegoats, and damage the essential infrastructure for an effective response to this pandemic.”
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.