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It wouldn’t make much sense to sack the fire service during a forest fire, yet that’s effectively what US President Donald Trump has done by suspending funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) in the middle of a pandemic. The WHO is by no means perfect, but undermining the world’s only global public health agency does not serve US interests.

The US is the biggest contributor to the 194-member WHO, providing around US$400 million (£322 million) annually, which makes up about a fifth of the budget. The organisation has been asked to do more with less for decades and is already in a fairly perilous financial situation.

Although the move is characteristically shortsighted, this time Trump’s decision was premeditated. On April 10, he hinted that US funding would be withdrawn, adding: “We’re looking at it very, very closely … we’ll have a lot to say about it.”

The following week he confirmed the suspension of funding and blamed the WHO for “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of coronavirus”. He argued that the organisation had been too slow to investigate the outbreak and had been complicit in China’s suppression and misreporting of cases.

Read the full article on The Conversation website, written by Luke Allen, GP Academic Clinical Fellow in Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences

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