Over 65 US Global and Public Health Groups Send Solidarity Letter to WHO After Trump Threatens to Pull Funding

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June 4, 2020

CONTACT: Madison Donzis | [email protected] 

Over 65 US Global and Public Health Groups Send Solidarity Letter to World Health Organization After Trump Threatens to Pull Funding 

As COVID-19 Claims Nearly 400,000 Lives, Groups Like the Center for Health & Gender Equity Are Standing in Solidarity with WHO Amidst Attacks From the Trump Administration

Over 65 public health research, academic and global health advocacy organizations have signed onto a letter led by CHANGE (the Center for Health and Gender Equity) standing in solidarity with the World Health Organization (WHO) and its staff. It will be sent to the WHO’s Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at WHO headquarters in Geneva today.

The letter comes after Trump threatened to permanently end funding to the WHO and pull out of the international body, following a temporary freeze on WHO funding last month. Its signers include American Public Health Association, US People Living with HIV Caucus, International Pediatric Association, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Georgetown University O'Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law, the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, Global Health Strategies, NARAL Pro-Choice America, International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region, National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), Seed Global Health and more.

The letter reads: “We are deeply disappointed by the U.S. government's decision to play politics with public health and safety by slandering the WHO’s vital work in combating the global coronavirus pandemic and subsequently terminating U.S. government funding of the organization. We reject our government’s decision to end U.S. contributions to the WHO, because we recognize the harms that doing so will cause to the global community’s ability to both combat the coronavirus pandemic and safeguard global health and public safety in the future.” It continues, “thank you again for the invaluable work undertaken by the WHO. We stand in solidarity with you, and the frontline health care workers around the world, doing everything possible to save lives during this pandemic.”

SEE THE LETTER AND FULL LIST OF SIGNERS HERE: https://srhrforall.org/standing-in-solidarity-with-the-world-health-organization/

“The World Health Organization is essential, especially when it comes to addressing the health and rights of women and others who face stigma and discrimination. It is terrifying to imagine a world in which the WHO did not exist to coordinate responses to global health challenges like the coronavirus,” said Serra Sippel, President of CHANGE (the Center for Health and Gender Equity), who organized the letter. “President Trump may try to deflect blame onto the institutions that are working tirelessly to save lives and defeat coronavirus, but make no mistake: the blame lies not with the World Health Organization, but with the Trump administration’s colossal failures in addressing the pandemic. We stand with the WHO and see the incredible work they are doing to fight this virus in a way that still dignifies people all over the world.”

"Cutting funding for the World Health Organization at a time like this would be flat-out dangerous, unthinkable and disastrous for vulnerable populations who depend on the agency to get the access to HIV and hepatitis screenings and other health care coverage that they need,” said Dr. Stephen Lee, Executive Director of the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), who signed onto the letter. “The WHO works every day to address and dismantle health inequities in marginalized communities around the globe. We must maintain its critical programs to combat the public health implications of COVID-19. Anything less would be an utter shame."

"Our collective survival is dependent on working together to fight this pandemic,” said Dr. Vanessa Kerry, CEO of Seed Global Health. “The US decision to withdraw funding from the World Health Organization endangers us all. The WHO is uniquely positioned in this historical and truly existential challenge to mobilize the full arsenal of tools, science, and alliances necessary to ultimately defeat COVID."

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