A recent Associated Press article stated that the World Health Organization and various others “lament” the Trump administration’s withdrawal of funding for WHO’s operations. I write as a board member of the Maine Chapter of the United Nations Association to address this action.

To lament, to grieve, or to deplore — none is sufficient. Those words imply that nothing more can be done. To the contrary, this is not a static situation. We all need to demand an immediate reversal of this reported new policy.

Why?

Although there may be many reasons to protest, perhaps the broadest appeal is this: defunding WHO in the midst of a global pandemic is not in the self-interest of America. Tax dollars should be used to help maintain the healthiest world possible. We cannot do this alone; the USA is not an island unto itself and viruses do not respect borders.

WHO has a long history of eradicating diseases and/or holding various diseases at bay, e.g., polio, measles, TB, HIV. It is the primary institution with the technical capacity as well as the mandate to support all countries. It needs America’s fullest support.

A recent bipartisan poll found that when it comes to managing the response to international health crises such as COVID-19, three quarters of Americans (77%) trust WHO above all other entities. We Americans will be safer and healthier if people from all corners of the globe continue to have access to the health services of WHO.

Elizabeth Eames, Lewiston


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