The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday said the agency is purely focused on saving lives and putting a stop to the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world for the past four months.
The WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, in response to the threat by the U.S. government to halt funding the outfit, said it has done no wrong but only following the creed for which organisation was established in 1945.
The organisation was established by nations to protect the highest attainable standard of health as one of the fundamental rights of every human being, without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition, he said.
Mr Ghebreyesus said “that creed remains our vision today.”
“There is no time to waste and WHO’s singular focus is on working to serve all people to save lives and stop the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The U.S. president, Donald Trump, on Tuesday said he was freezing the funding of WHO pending a review into the UN health agency’s “role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus”, adding: “everybody knows what’s going on there”.
The United States is the biggest individual contributor to the WHO’s budget.
Mr Ghebreyesus, during the virtual briefing in Geneva, said the U.S. has been a longstanding and generous friend to WHO, and that they hope it will continue to be so.
“We regret the decision of the President of the United States to order a halt in funding to the World Health Organisation,” he added.
He said with the support from the people and its government, “WHO works to improve the health of many of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”
Mr Ghebreyesus said that WHO is not only fighting COVID-19 but also working to address polio, measles, malaria, Ebola, HIV, tuberculosis, malnutrition, cancer, diabetes, mental health and many other diseases and conditions.
“We also work with countries to strengthen health systems and improve access to life-saving health services,” he said. “COVID-19 does not discriminate between rich nations and poor, large nations and small. It does not discriminate between nationalities, ethnicities or ideologies.”
Meanwhile, the WHO boss said the UN health agency is reviewing the impact of the withdrawal of U.S. funding.
He said the agency will work with its partners “to fill any financial gaps we face and to ensure our work continues uninterrupted”.
He said the agency is committed to public health, science and to serving all the people of the world.
“Our mission and mandate are to work with all nations equally, without regard to the size of their populations or economies.
“In due course, WHO’s performance in tackling this pandemic will be reviewed by WHO’s Member States and the independent bodies that are in place to ensure transparency and accountability.
“This is part of the usual process put in place by our Member States. No doubt, areas for improvement will be identified and there will be lessons for all of us to learn.
“But for now, our focus – my focus – is on stopping this virus and saving lives,” he said.