Jens Spahn, Germany’s Federal Minister of Health, says that American President Donald Trump “has a point” in his criticisms of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHO has come under fire from President Trump and others for its failures during the early weeks of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Spahn made the remarks in an interview he gave to the Financial Times. “[President Trump] does have a point — the WHO needs to reform its governance and accountability,” Spahn said. “We need to figure out exactly where the money goes.”
The WHO has been accused of repeating Chinese government propaganda during the early phase of the pandemic, such as its initial claim that the virus could not be spread through person-to-person contact. Many believe that this disinformation, which was designed to help China save face for its role in igniting the crisis, severely hindered and delayed the international response to the outbreak.
Nevertheless, Spahn urged the US not to consider leaving the organisation until after the pandemic has passed, in the hope that it can still be reformed. President Trump threatened to cut off US funding for the institution last week, as previously reported by Voice of Europe.
Spahn never mentioned China specifically in the interview, however. He stressed that America’s financial contributions to the WHO are critical to its operations. He said that while many Western nations can manage their own healthcare, many poorer nations rely on the WHO for medical assistance they can’t provide themselves. He said that reducing the WHO’s ability to offer aid in a crisis such as a pandemic would pose a danger to all nations.
Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged $2 billion USD to the WHO over the next two years in his speech at the opening ceremony of the World Health Assembly last week in a move that was widely seen as a counter to President Trump’s threats. He attempted to whitewash his country’s responsibility for the crisis, saying any investigation into his country’s role should be postponed until after it has passed, as previously reported by Voice of Europe.
Similarly, Spahn spoke of the need to postpone any talk of repercussions until later. “In the middle of a crisis, when you’re putting out fires, you can’t talk about reforming the fire brigade,” he said. “First, we have to deal with the crisis, and only then talk about the WHO.”
The post German Health Minister says Trump “has a point” about WHO appeared first on Voice of Europe.
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