The head of emergencies at the World Health Organization warned Wednesday that any end to sizable U.S. funding for the U.N. health agency will have a “major implication for delivering essential health services to the most vulnerable people in the world.”
Michael Ryan was responding to questions from reporters about a letter sent by U.S. President Donald Trump to the WHO’s chief threatening an end — for good — to funding from the United States, the agency’s biggest donor, unless it reforms.
The comments came on a day when a total of 106,000 COVID-19 cases were reported to the WHO over the last 24 hours, the most in a single day since the pandemic began.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “We have of course received the letter and we are looking into it.”
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Ryan said the U.S. funding that reaches the WHO emergencies program was “on the order of US$100 million a year” and much goes to “humanitarian health operations all over the world, in all sorts of fragile and difficult settings.”
He expressed “concern” about any such funding cuts.