Wednesday 15 April 2020

WHO's sorry now?

So Trump has gone and done it. He's defunded the World Health Organisation, for now at least. I've written about it for the Telegraph...

In an ideal world, other big donors such as the UK would threaten to withhold funding until they are given an assurance that the Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, will resign and the agency will undergo a root and branch review. The WHO should promise to drop its obsessions with political correctness and the nanny state and return to its core mission of tackling infectious disease without fear or favour.

That may be too much to ask right now, but Trump’s decision has kept the spotlight on this rotten organisation and made reform more likely. As I wrote last week, there is no chance of the WHO mending its ways unless there is a credible threat of the money drying up.
No one is naive enough to think the president is motivated purely by a desire to see an international agency clean up its act. Trump’s mishandling of Covid-19 in January and February was in many respects worse than the WHO’s. The only thing he got right in that period was banning travel from China and Europe, a policy condemned by the WHO for creating ‘fear and stigma’.

Sometimes the right thing can happen for the wrong reasons. Whatever Trump’s motivations, the WHO is long overdue a kick up the backside and this is the right time to do it. The current pandemic will eventually subside and the public will go back to ignoring the agency. The time to act is when the eyes of the world are on it. 

Read it all if you have a subscription.

At 8pm UK time I'll be live on Regulator Watch talking about this development and many other issues. You should be able to watch below (if not, click here).

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