A plea to all governments to continue providing the World Health Organization, WHO, with sufficient funds has come from physician leaders from across the world.
In a rare joint statement on the eve of next week’s World Health Assembly in Geneva, global physician organizations from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe have issued a strong warning that to withhold funds to the WHO at this time of a pandemic was ‘neither helpful nor safe’.
But their statement also says that the WHO is in dire need of structural reform ‘to ensure its independence from political or ideological assaults’.
The statement says: ‘We acknowledge the work of the WHO and its leadership as a technical agency for providing guidance, coordination and support for public health, and we underline its efforts to bring Universal Health Coverage to all people. This is even more crucial in times of a pandemic.
‘However, we also appeal to all, and foremost to democratic governments, to reject any political abuse or undue influence by governments or any other parties in the execution of the International Health Regulations and the technical work of the WHO. We also urge the WHO to resist any undue political influence and to concentrate on its health and scientific mission.’
The statement concludes: ‘This requires constant vigilance against such abuse and the swift rejection of any attempts to exclude or prioritize individual territories in the work of the health agency. The health of all humans requires permanent protection and vigilance against such behavior. Structural reform of the WHO to ensure its independence from political or ideological assaults is therefore direly needed’.
The statement has been signed by leaders of the World Medical Association, the Coalition of African Medical Associations, the Confederation of Medical Associations of Asia and Oceania, CONFEMEL (the Confederation of Medical Entities of Ibero-America and the Caribbean), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, and the Standing Committee of European Doctors.