Washington Post Examines Implications Of COVID-19, U.S. WHO Funding Freeze For Global Polio Efforts
Washington Post: Polio was almost eradicated. Then came the coronavirus. Then came a threat from President Trump.
“For decades, the United States has worked with the World Health Organization and others to quash polio, beating back to near extinction a merciless disease that once paralyzed hundreds of thousands of children each year. That progress is in danger as the pandemic forces health-care providers to suspend door-to-door vaccination campaigns that have slashed the number of infections. … Last month, President Trump threatened to cut U.S. funding for polio and every other WHO program over the U.N. agency’s coronavirus response, which he called ‘China-centric.’ In the weeks since, the president and his aides have worked behind the scenes to sideline the WHO. They have also sought to deflect criticism of the United States’ handling of the crisis by pointing to the WHO’s failure to demand more transparency and accountability from China in the earliest stages of the outbreak. While many say the WHO legitimately warrants scrutiny, there is consensus in the public health community that stripping the agency of hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked to combat polio and other diseases could be devastating…” (Rauhala et al., 5/15).