US proposed suspension of WHO funding undermines global health

World Health Organization (WHO) Headquarters, Geneva
17 April 2020

UICC is deeply troubled by President Trump’s recent public declarations to halt US funding of the World Health Organization.

This decision will have a real and durable impact on development goals and the health of millions around the world.

“I applaud individuals and member states of WHO who have condemned the proposed action by President Trump and offered their support for WHO,” said Dr Cary Adams, CEO of UICC. “We also extend our support to our colleagues at WHO who have been instrumental in fighting epidemics in the past and are now once again working tirelessly to fight the global spread of a highly infectious virus, to which people suffering from non-communicable diseases such as cancer are particularly vulnerable.”

In face of this global pandemic, it is even more critical for countries to stand together in enabling those with less robust health systems to respond effectively to mitigating the contagion and the effects of the disease. The work of WHO is particularly crucial in low- to middle-income countries, which not only face shortages of testing and protective equipment and essential medicines but also must manage the spread of the disease in contexts where it is extremely challenging to exercise effective social distancing.

“A shortfall in WHO funding may well have dire long-term consequences for cancer control as well,” said Cary Adams. “This is a year in which WHO launches a global strategy to eliminate cervical cancer to save millions of women’s lives in the upcoming years and we do not want this compromised.” 

UICC, therefore, joins the growing number of countries and organisations asking that global health not be politicised at this critical moment. 

“The true global ambassadors of health recognise that faux attributions of blame at a time of crisis are incredibly dangerous,” said Cary Adams. “It serves no purpose when collective action is needed to save the lives of people around the world.”

Last update: 
Friday 17 April 2020