[Ip-health] Trump aides consider creating alternative to WHO - POLITICO

James Love james.love at keionline.org
Tue Apr 14 08:40:01 PDT 2020


Officials have begun drafting a letter that -- if the decision is made --
will announce a suspension of U.S. funding to the WHO and a related body,
the Pan American Health Organization, according to a person familiar with
the issue. The draft document also tells officials at the State Department,
the U.S. Agency for International Development and other institutions to try
to route the money to existing alternative organizations.

Trump on Friday teased a forthcoming announcement about the WHO next week,
hinting that his administration would place a hold on its funding to the
global health body. But he did not go into details Friday, instead
launching into a litany of complaints about how the WHO is allegedly too
close to Beijing despite the U.S. being its top donor.


According to two of the people, some of those aides have suggested modeling
the alternative institution on UNAIDS, a U.N. body devoted to eradicating
HIV/AIDS. That institution was set up in the mid-1990s amid widespread
unhappiness with the WHO’s handling of the AIDS epidemic. It wasn’t clear
exactly what in the structure of UNAIDS would make it appealing to Trump
aides, and some analysts were flummoxed at the idea.

The coronavirus isn’t the first time there have been discussions among
Trump aides about reforming or simply abandoning the WHO, two people
familiar with the issue said.

Political appointees at places like the State Department, the Department of
Health and Human Services and USAID who have strong pro-life beliefs have
at times pushed the idea of creating an alternative to the WHO.

Some of them have been unhappy with the United Nations’ overall handling of
issues related to sexual and reproductive health. They have demanded the
elimination of phrases like “sexual and reproductive health,” from U.N.

Dan Diamond and Daniel Lippman contributed to this report.

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