In the midst of the only global pandemic anyone on the planet has witnessed, President Trump abruptly decided to withdraw from the World Health Organization and to ban the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from reporting their facts and figures directly to the public. So, what does this actually mean for the American people? In short, it isn’t good for us as a people, nor for our country. Leaving WHO in the middle of a pandemic, while our country struggles to curtail the spread of the novel Coronavirus is irresponsible and will absolutely have a negative affect on us as a whole. Stopping the CDC from
informing the public of the daily influx of new information pertainingto COVID-19, is willfully dangerous, and what's more, as a long-standing and direct partner working with WHO, it doubles down the restriction of necessary, unbiased knowledge reaching the American people and potentially saving American lives.
What does the World Health Organization actually do for you and our country? For starters, it gives us a seat at the table and a platform. We can use that platform to voice our concerns or to share our innovative
plans for the betterment of humanity. It means if (or when) another country affiliated with WHO, finds a vaccine for COVID-19, we are at the top of the list to receive and distribute it to our people. It means
fighting HIV/AIDS globally and getting closer and closer to the finishline. It means helping women worldwide deliver healthy children, and also live to see them grow. It means transferring time sensitive
data and information safely through the channels that in turn may save millions of lives. It means we are still a powerhouse that is capable and willing to positively affect global change. By demonstrating that we are willing to work cohesively, by sharing our top medical scientists and their research with our allies and even those that simply and overwhelmingly need help, we show as global leaders that we are as imperative as ever.
Take Polio - Polio hasn’t been in issue in the US since 1979, (with the exception of the virus being brought here by travelers in 1993) https://www.cdc.gov/polio/what-is-polio/polio-us.html, but the US has been one of the biggest donors in eradicating the disease globally. There are only three polio strongholds left worldwide – Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Our money, the CDC and its direct corroboration
with WHO, is largely responsible, http://polioeradication.org/. The US was the top financial contributor to the World Health Organization as of 2018-2019, with a combined total $851.6 million, between
membership dues and voluntary contributions (membership dues are based off a country’s GDP/population and approved every two years at the World Health Assembly). Polio Eradication has garnered its own category and takes up 15% of the annual budget, again largely due directly to the US. Trump has put a freeze on the US funding allocated for WHO since April 2020, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-a-us-exit-from-the-who-means-for-covid-19-and-global-health/.
Sure, the World Health Organization is not perfect or close to it but, the goal is to medically help humanity with the collective intelligence, ingenuity and resources allocated worldwide. There are issues, but those issues boil down to management, staffing, and policy reform - these things can be fixed. We cannot forget its purpose or why the United States of America was proud to unite in order to engage and explore possibilities that give us life! It is essential to have experts in the top of their field, sharing information and working together in order to discover lifesaving solutions for people across every nation, big and small. As a world leader, the U.S. cannot afford to be left behind when medicine, science and technology are constantly leaping forward. If we want to be leaders, we need to lead, not run off to go at it solo. If we want our voice to hold any weight when it actually matters, we cannot lose our significance in such a significant organization. We are a world community and multiple daily facets of life reflect similarly from country to country – it would be ignorant and inefficient to leave the helping community of our peers, to refuse expansion of our knowledge and data, based off a decision made by a man with zero experience in this arena...during a global pandemic.
We have been a member of WHO since 1948 and along with 194 other countries, have the same goal and can best achieve it together, https://www.who.int/about. There are only three countries that aren’t allowed a vote in the World Health Organization – South Sudan, Venezuela and the Central African Republic,
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-a-us-exit-from-the-who-means-for-covid-19-and-global-health/, why would we want to be the fourth? Why would we want to silence our science and
stifle our commanding influence? Elizabeth Cousens, the head of the U.N. Foundation, stated when referring to the U.S.’ withdrawal from WHO that our “ability to lead and shape an agenda for reform is
drastically diminished when they step out of the field of play.” We have skin in the game - equity and innovation can only be achieved through collaboration between every expert across the globe.
The good news is that the official process of leaving the World Health Organization starts with a year’s notice, bringing us to July 2021 and potentially, a different face representing the United States of
America. To officially exit WHO you also need to pay all outstanding debts and fees, that fiscal year has yet to end and we still owe most of the current dues. It also is even unclear if it is constitutionally allowed
for the President to officially exit this treaty without congressional approval. Nevertheless, the threat is real and will soon be a reality if Trump wins his reelection bid come this November. We need to vote. We need to oust him before he ruins all of our international relationships, along with our already diminishing reputation. We need to vote for science and for our planet.
I can’t picture next year with Trump as my leader - the repercussions of what that will actually entail for U.S. citizens at home and abroad is dreadfully unfathomable. We need to vote for America. I implore you to use your power – vote.
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