Donald Trump has reportedly cancelled $62 million in funding previously earmarked for the World Health Organization as the president advances the US’s withdrawal from the embattled organization.
The Washington Examiner reported on Thursday that Trump is also “reassigning the Department of Health and Human Services officials detailed to the World Health Organization.”
Trump’s withdrawal from the WHO will be complete on July 6, 2021, but the Trump administration is working hard to identify new organizations that can take on the duties that the WHO previously fulfilled. Those partners will receive the funds previously directed at the WHO.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said on Thursday:
[Withdrawal] becomes effective on July 6, 2021, and since the president’s announcement, the U.S. government has been working to identify partners to assume the activities previously undertaken by WHO, U.S. participation in WHO technical meetings and events will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
The WHO was slated to receive $120 million in funding from the US in 2020, but President Trump froze funding to the organization in April due to the organization’s botched handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The organization only received $58 million of the intended funding before Trump’s freeze.
According to Statista data, the US is by far the largest contributor to the WHO, so Trump’s decision to withdraw funding from the organization is a major blow. Now that the US will no longer contribute funds, China will be the largest single donor.
Director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Global Affairs office Garrett Grigsby stressed that the US can still provide public health aid through other organizations not manipulated by China and that the HHS will make one-time exceptions to the funding freeze for select WHO programs such as immunization and influenza.
“The WHO activities that HHS will support this year are one-time exceptions for funding, up to $40 million, in the program areas of immunization and influenza,” Grigsby said. “These contributions would be to ensure continuity of activities important to the health security of Americans for which there was not immediate alternative programmatic partners.”