The US Just Proposed Massive Cuts to Funding for World Health Organization
This proposal comes at a time when the WHO is responding to a global coronavirus outbreak.
The Trump administration's newly unveiled budget proposal cuts nearly $65 million in funding to the World Health Organization (WHO).
This cut would equate to more than a 50% decrease in funding from the US compared to the previous fiscal year, according to CNN.
The announcement comes as the recent coronavirus outbreak, which has been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the WHO, continues to spread.
Overall, the budget proposal calls for over $3 billion in cuts to funding for global health programs, according to Foreign Policy.
The US currently accounts for about 15% of the WHO’s funding, making it the biggest source of funding for the organization.
Just because the Trump administration proposed these cuts doesn’t mean that they’ll be enacted. The US House of Representatives can vote against these budget cuts — and voted against similar budget cuts last year, the International Business Times notes.
The ongoing concern surrounding the coronavirus could spur legislators to defend the WHO, which plays a critical role in preventing the spread of contagious diseases.
This coronavirus was first discovered in Wuhan, in the Hubei Province of China. As of Feb. 11, there were 43,103 confirmed cases of the virus globally, and 1,017 deaths in China, the WHO reported. There have been two deaths confirmed outside mainland China, according to the New York Times.
"Our greatest concern is about the potential for spread in other countries with weaker health systems and who lack the capacity to detect and diagnose the virus," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference, according to CNBC. "We’re only as strong as the weakest link."
"We cannot defeat this outbreak without solidarity. Political solidarity, technical solidarity, and financial solidarity," he added.
Low- and middle-income countries tend to be the most negatively affected when pandemics strike, the Brooking Institute reported in 2017.
The UK has announced a new aid pledge to help fight the spread of the virus in developing countries. Bill and Melinda Gates have also announced a pledge of more funding to efforts to combat the virus.