The African Union has condemned the decision by US President Donald Trump to cut funding to the World Health Organization over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump has accused the global health body of promoting what he calls China’s “disinformation” about the coronavirus.
President Trump said the WHO failed in its duties and its cover up for China was likely to led to a wider outbreak.
Trump told reporters at the White House that “I am directing my administration to halt funding while a review is conducted to access the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.”
The WHO failed in its basic duty and it must be held accountable,” Trump added.
He said “With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have deep concerns whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible.”
— Samira Sawlani (@samirasawlani) April 14, 2020
But the Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat said “The US govt decision to suspend funding to WHO is deeply regrettable.
Today more than ever, the world depends on WHO’s leadership to steer the global Covid-19 pandemic response. Our collective responsibility to ensure WHO can fully carry out its mandate, has never been more urgent.”
The USgovt decision to suspend funding to @WHO is deeply regrettable. Today more than ever,the world depends on WHO’s leadership to steer the global #Covid_19 pandemic response.Our collective responsibility to ensure WHO can fully carry out its mandate, has never been more urgent
— Moussa Faki Mahamat (@AUC_MoussaFaki) April 15, 2020
US financial contributions to the WHO is just under 15% of the organization’s funding in 2019.
The US has now become the epicentre of the pandemic with over 592,743 cases and 25,239 deaths as at April 14, 2020.
US campaign against WHO boss
The latest move by the Trump administration could pile pressure on the leadership of the WHO.
U.S politicians have been leading a campaign already to have the boss of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus removed from office.
They accused him of allowing China to under-report the impact of the virus in Wuhan, where the outbreak started.
China has been accused of significantly downplaying its official virus cases, with some estimates suggesting their death toll could be as high as 40,000.
But many African leaders came to the defence of Tedros, warning the US against such a campaign at this time of a global crisis.