The AAMC joined a June 16 letter, signed by more than 80 organizations in the public health, science, health professionals and humanitarian aid communities, detailing the importance of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the COVID-19 response. It urges congressional leadership to fully fund the WHO in fiscal year 2021 and in future COVID-19 emergency supplemental funding bills.
The letter follows President Donald Trump’s May 29 announcement that the United States will terminate its relationship with the WHO. In recent years, Congress has provided funding through the annual spending bills to support the WHO through U.S. agencies that partner with the WHO on specific activities.
In the letter, the groups outline the more than 70 years of U.S. support for the WHO and the WHO’s unique capabilities in supporting global public health responses to disease, including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
On COVID-19, the letter emphasizes that “only the WHO has the capacity and reach to gather public health data from any country in the world and use it to quickly develop and disseminate technical guidance to help countries prepare public health responses. WHO has published more than 100 pieces of technical guidance on COVID-19, reaching communities, hospitals, frontline health workers, private sector partners, and other public health authorities operating at city, province and national levels in every country.”
The letter concludes, “Preserving a strong U.S.-WHO partnership is critical to U.S. global health, foreign policy, and national security objectives. Our organizations call on you to reject the Administration’s attempts to terminate our relationship with WHO, and to please fully fund the WHO in Fiscal Year 2021 and future COVID-19 supplemental bills.”
The AAMC issued a May 30 press release sharing disappointment about the president’s decision, adding, “In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, countries of the world should be working together to improve the health of all people. This decision is counter to that goal.”