- US President Donald Trump threatened to freeze US funding to the World Health Organization (WHO),saying the international group had “missed the call” on the coronavirus pandemic.
- Trump said the body had “called it wrong” on COVID-19and that it was very “China centric” in its approach, suggesting that the WHO had gone along with Beijing’s efforts months ago to under-represent the severity of the outbreak.
- The American President declared he would cut off US funding for the organisation, then backtracked and said he would strongly consider such a move.
Key Facts about World Health Organization (WHO):
- The World Health Organization (WHO), founded in 1948, is a specialized agency of the United Nations with a broad mandate to act as a coordinating authority on international health issues.
- The U.S. government (U.S.) has long been actively engaged with WHO, providing financial and technical support as well as participating in its governance structure.
- The U.S. is currently the largest contributor to WHO.
How is the WHO funded?
There are four kinds of contributions that make up funding for the WHO.
- These are assessed contributions, specified voluntary contributions, core voluntary contributions, and PIP contributions.
- According to the WHO website, assessed contributions are the dues countries pay in order to be a member of the Organization.
- Assessed contributions(set amounts expected to be paid by member-state governments, scaled by income and population)
- The amount each Member State must pay is calculated relative to the country’s wealth and population.
- Voluntary contributions come from Member States (in addition to their assessed contribution) or from other partners. They can range from flexible to highly earmarked.
- Voluntary contributions(other funds provided by member states, plus contributions from private organizations and individuals).
- Core voluntary contributions allow less well-funded activities to benefit from a better flow of resources and ease implementation bottlenecks that arise when immediate financing is lacking.
- Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Contributionswere started in 2011 to improve and strengthen the sharing of influenza viruses with human pandemic potential, and to increase the access of developing countries to vaccines and other pandemic related supplies.
- In recent years, assessed contributions to the WHO have declined, and now account for less than one-fourth of its funding.
- These funds are important for the WHO, because they provide a level of predictability and minimise dependence on a narrow donor base.
- Voluntary contributions make up for most of the remaining funding.
The current funding pattern:
- The United Statesis currently the WHO’s biggest contributor, making up 14.67 per cent of total funding by providing USD 553.1 million.
- The US is followed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundationforming 9.76 per cent or USD 367.7 million.
- The third biggest contributor is the GAVI Vaccine Allianceat 8.39 per cent, with the UK (7.79 per cent) and Germany (5.68 per cent) coming fourth and fifth respectively.
- The four next biggest donors are international bodies: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (5.09 per cent), World Bank (3.42 per cent), Rotary International (3.3 per cent), and the European Commission (3.3 per cent). India makes up 0.48 per cent of total contributions, and China 0.21 per cent.
- Out of the total funds, USD 1.2 billion is allotted for the Africa region, USD 1.02 billion for Eastern Mediterranean region, USD 963.9 million for the WHO headquarters, followed by South East Asia(USD 198.7 million), Europe (USD 200.4 million), Western Pacific (USD 152.1 million), and Americas (39.2 million) regions respectively. India is part of the South East Asia region.
- The biggest programme area where the money is allocated is polio eradication (26.51 per cent),followed by increasing access to essential health and nutrition services (12.04 per cent), and preventable diseases vaccines (8.89 per cent).