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Covid-19: Trump halts WHO funding in move labelled “petulant” and “short sighted”

BMJ 2020; 369 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1502 (Published 15 April 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;369:m1502

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Rapid Response:

Open Letter of Support to WHO and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Gebrheyesus

Dear Editor

To: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
@DrTedros
Director General and Team,
The World Health Organization,
Geneva, Switzerland,

Dear Dr. Tedros and Team,

We the undersigned have noted with concern the recent personal and institutional attacks against you and WHO. We want to let you know that the world and humanity needs the institution of the World Health Organization (WHO) now more than ever. In the wake of the COVID -19 pandemic the technical guidance and leadership of the WHO that you and the leadership team in Geneva, Regional and Country Offices round the world is valued and appreciated.

A number of us were members of the Commission that released the report “The Neglected Dimension of Global Security: A Framework to Counter Infectious Disease Crises” in 2016. Having reviewed a wide range of options for a coordinated global response to infectious diseases, we concluded that the WHO is best placed to play the leadership and coordinating role and that if there was no WHO, we would have to invent one.

This is why we are writing to you to let you know that at this critical time in human history, it has fallen upon you and your WHO team to carry the singular responsibility of leading and coordinating the global charge to stop COVID -19 from killing more people and wreaking more collateral economic and social damage to the world.

We would like you to know that we have noted some of the attacks that have been leveled at WHO and to you personally. We know that some of these attacks are motivated by a number of factors that have nothing to do with your leadership of the WHO.

We are delighted and encouraged that despite these attacks you and WHO are committed to continue to focus on saving lives and controlling the pandemic with statements such as “No time to waste. Let’s focus on saving lives. Collaboration across party lines important to ensure national unity to fight the virus more effectively. National unity is a foundation for global solidarity. When we do this, we quarantine political covid. Stop politicizing #COVID19”.

We are equally encouraged by the timely financial support that has been extended to WHO by Governments and Non-State Actors at this critical time and we call for all governments, rich and poor including the Private sector to come forward with the urgently needed additional financial support to WHO in the spirit of global solidarity.

1. Francis Omaswa, Executive Director, African Center for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST), Kampala, Uganda.

2. Nigel Crisp, House of Lords, UK

3. Suwit Wibulpolprasert, International Health Policy Program (IHPP Thailand), Ministry of Public Health, Thailand

4. Miriam Khamadi Were, Member, Champions of AIDS-Free Generation, Nairobi, Kenya

5. Marietjie de Villiers, AFREhealth President, Professor in Family Medicine, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

6. Hon. Keith Martin MD, PC , Executive Director, Consortium of Universities for Global Health, Washington, DC, USA

7. Peter Berman, Professor and Director, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

8. Yoswa Dambisya, Director General, East, Central and Southern African Health Community, Arusha, Tanzania

9. Nelson Ssewankambo, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda

10. Tsion Firew, Special Advisor to the Minister on Emergency Care and Strategic Partnerships, Federal Ministry of Health, Ethiopia

Competing interests: No competing interests

15 April 2020
Francis Omaswa
Global Health
2. Nigel Crisp, House of Lords, UK 3. Suwit Wibulpolprasert, International Health Policy Program (IHPP Thailand), Ministry of Public Health, Thailand 4. Miriam Khamadi Were. Member Champions of AIDS-Free Generation, Nairobi, Kenya 5. Marietjie de Villiers, AFREhealth President Professor in Family Medicine Stellenbosch University South Africa 6. Hon. Keith Martin MD, PC , Executive Director, Consortium of Universities for Global Health, Washington, DC, USA 7. Peter Berman, Professor and Director, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada 8. Yoswa Dambisya Director General, East, Central and Southern African Health Community, Arusha, Tanzania 9. Nelson Ssewankambo, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda 10. Tsion Firew, Special Advisor to the Minister on Emergency Care and Strategic Partnerships, Federal Ministry of Health, Ethiopia
African Center for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST)
13B Acaia Avenue, Kampala, Uganda