Amid rising coronavirus numbers, President Donald Trump’s administration has made a move that might decide the future for the health crisis in the United States. The administration has issued a notice to Congress and the United Nations saying the country will withdraw from the World Health Organization.
The country’s withdrawal from the WHO will go into effect next year in July. It is a decision that has brought due criticism from the likes of medical associations, lawmakers, advocacy organizations, and allies overseas.
Upon hearing the news about Trump’s decision to withdrawal from the WHO, Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee against Trump, vowed to reverse the decision on his first day as president.
Sen. Robert Menendez is the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He spoke against Trump’s response to the pandemic in a tweet saying “This won’t protect American lives or interests- it leaves Americans sick & America alone”.
Menendez isn’t the only one concerned over the US withdrawal from the WHO since the news broke out, several health experts and people on the frontlines of the pandemic have criticized the decision.
A State Department official confirmed the news saying the notice of withdrawal that will be in action from July 6, 2021, is given to the UN Secretary-General.
The spokesperson for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, says the notice was received. They added that they are currently undergoing a verification process with the World Health Organization. The conditions in question include the allowance of a one-year notice and assessed financial obligation payments.
The current functions of the WHO that are worth mentioning given the situation include coordinating safety and medical equipment. This means that the organization makes sure that things like ventilators reach hospitals worldwide.
Elizabeth Cousens is the president and CEO of the UN Foundation. She says the organization is vital in the battle against coronavirus.
Similar sentiments were of Loyce Pace who is the president and executive director of the Global Health Council. He says the support the WHO receives for its role is massive and authentic and withdrawal from the organization may be a bad move given the fact that there is no substitute organization doing what they are doing during the pandemic.
Other warnings on the subject include the threat clinical trials will receive as a result. The trials that are being carried out to develop vaccines to stop the virus may also come under the fire with the withdrawal.
Trump has previously expressed his discontent over the inefficiencies of the organization. He made allegations saying the WHO aided the Chinese government’s desire to cover-up the origins of the
pandemic. While lawmakers from both parties agree that there have been long-standing problems in the WHO, many do not agree with Trump’s decision of withdrawal.
Nancy Pelosi is a Democratic House Speaker. She calls this decision by Trump’s administration a senseless move. Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander is the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Sharing Pelosi’s sentiments he also disagreed with the withdrawal decision.
He added that the administration should come up with recommendations that are specific so that the WHO can work on reforms. He proposed that such recommendations should be submitted to Congress and together they can make them work instead.
Cousens the head of the UN foundation also took to criticizing the withdrawal decision by calling it rather dangerous. She said working with an organization like the WHO, the US can best use its resources for a greater good. Stepping out of that scenario would not, therefore mean well for the Nation.
Donald Trump’s decision to permanently withdraw from the WHO is a consequence of a long pattern of discontent against global organizations. The president’s unfaltering belief that the US is being taken advantage of drives this decision. He has not only withdrawn from the WHO but also the Paris Climate accord, questions funding to the United Nations, and also consistently criticized the World Trade Organization.