US Administration Turns Away from the Collective Fight Against COVID-19

Posted by
Fiona Callister
8 July 2020
WaterAid/ Eliza Powell

WaterAid is greatly concerned that the US Administration’s recent action to begin withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO) may critically weaken the global fight against COVID-19.

“The world is currently facing its biggest health crisis for over a century, a crisis that will only be brought to an end by global cooperation. The World Health Organization is more crucial now than ever before in its history so Trump’s decision to quit is reckless,” said Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive of WaterAid UK.

“A global pandemic requires a global response, and the WHO is a critical instrument for that,” said Kelly Parsons, CEO of WaterAid America.

WHO is a vital leader in addressing the health threats that know no national borders facilitating research, developing standards, and providing expert  support. WHO’s support for water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions (WASH), and its unprecedented COVID-19 vaccine development and research on potential treatments are key to stopping this pandemic in both the United States and the rest of the world. 

The coordination and collective expertise that WHO provides is indispensable, including in the U.S. where American lives make up more than 25% of the world’s deaths from COVID-19. Yet the current US administration has decided to abandon this major global mechanism for collective capacity to understand, track, and defeat COVID-19 and other life-threatening diseases. 

Governments, NGOs, healthcare workers, and the public around the world rely on the WHO for evidence-based guidance and strategies to address critical health challenges and emerging threats. As an international NGO, the WHO is a critical partner in WaterAid’s work. We are currently collaborating with them on a major hygiene awareness campaign that has reached more than 20 million people in Bangladesh with COVID-19 prevention programmes. These types of interventions are at serious risk if the US withdraws its support.