Tags: Coronavirus | Trump Administration | us | who | disease

US Departure From WHO Impacts COVID-19 Fight, Other Diseases

two hospital workers are shown in personal protective gear
(AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 08 July 2020 03:20 PM

Public health experts say President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the World Health Organization will impact the global fight against coronavirus and other deadly diseases, NBC News reports. 

WHO was created by the U.S. and other world powers to share information on infectious diseases, collaborate on vaccine research and share medical advice and equipment with lower-income countries.

Director of the global health program at the Council on Foreign Relations Thomas Bollyky told NBC News that WHO’s role is irreplaceable as the world tries to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

"The U.S. withdrawal from the WHO makes Americans less safe and undermines the global fight against COVID-19," Bollyky said. "The performance of WHO has not been perfect in this pandemic, but the world is safer for the data and scientific and technical expertise that a fully-supported WHO provides."

The U.S. exit is effective on July 6, 2021. Trump made the decision to leave WHO over its failure to confront China about its initial response to the virus outbreak.

While many acknowledge WHO could have acted differently, health officials say pulling out of WHO entirely is not the right decision. 

"The administration's move to formally withdraw from WHO amid the greatest public health crisis that Americans and the world have faced in a century is short-sighted, unnecessary, and unequivocally dangerous," Elizabeth Cousens, CEO of the United Nations Foundation, told NBC News. "WHO is the only body capable of leading and coordinating the global response to COVID-19."

But the Trump administration said leaving WHO will not impact the country’s pandemic response or change its commitment to supporting global health and humanitarian aid.

In addition to coronavirus, the U.S. departure from WHO also puts a polio vaccination program at risk, according to health experts.

"Without U.S. funding and political support, there is a good chance the world would see a resurgence of wild polio," Lawrence Gostin, director of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, told NBC News. "The U.S. is a key strategic partner in polio eradication. We are nearly at the point of eradication. We can't take our foot off the pedal now.”

Polio has continued to appear in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Since WHO’s polio program was introduced in 1988, polio cases have declined by 99%, WHO reports.

Gostin said the U.S. exit also threatens WHO programs that are coming up with ways to fight drug-resistant tuberculosis, HIV, malaria, and ensure vaccinations for children and safe childbirth in poorer countries.

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Public health experts say President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the World Health Organization will impact the global fight against coronavirus and other deadly diseases, NBC News reports. 
us, who, disease
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2020-20-08
Wednesday, 08 July 2020 03:20 PM
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