Watchdogs Slam Taxpayer-Funded World Health Organization for Coronavirus Response

Watchdogs Slam Taxpayer-Funded World Health Organization for Coronavirus Response

For Immediate Release
March 9, 2020
Contact: Grace Morgan
(202-855-4380)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) and International Governmental Organization (IGO) Watch criticized the World Health Organization (WHO) for their slow, haphazard response to the rapidly-growing coronavirus pandemic. Despite more than 100,000 cases and 3,800 deaths attributed to the deadly disease around the world, WHO officials continue to praise China for their “transparency” in response to the outbreak. The WHO has been condemned by journalists and watchdog groups for inadequate prevention guidelines and failing to hold China accountable for their cover-up of the disease. 

TPA and IGO Watch President David Williams slammed the WHO for their lackluster response to the coronavirus, noting, “even with a record $4.8 billion budget for biennium 2020-2021, the WHO has failed to show global taxpayers that it’s serious about combatting coronavirus. At every turn, officials at the helm of the global bureaucracy have chosen to appease China instead of protecting patients against a disease that each day claims more lives. President Xi’s despotic regime chose to cover up coronavirus cases from the beginning, jailing doctors and patients for even discussing mysterious cases reminiscent of the SARS outbreak. Despite these indefensible decisions and China’s two-week refusal to let a WHO-led international advance team into the country, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised China’s ‘political commitment’ and ‘political leadership’ in responding to the coronavirus. Millions of global taxpayers and patients would disagree.”

Williams continued: “Now is the time for the WHO to admit to its previous missteps and criticize China’s continued cover-ups. Instead, the United Nations sub-agency has opted at every turn to downplay the disease that has already claimed nearly 4,000 lives worldwide. Geneva bureaucrats refuse to call the outbreak a ‘pandemic’ even though the coronavirus clearly meets the threshold of ‘sustained community-level outbreaks’ present in at least two world regions. Public health officials have seen coronavirus cases on every continent except for Antarctica, as global infections top 100,000. Yet the WHO continues to believe that containment is possible and downplaying the severity of the coronavirus remains the best course of action despite all evidence indicating otherwise.”

Williams concluded: “The WHO’s bumbling response to the coronavirus speaks to a far deeper problem of skewed priorities at the global bureaucracy. The organization’s annual travel budget, for example, exceeds $200 million and dwarfs the budgets allocated for malaria, AIDS, and tuberculosis combined. Yet the WHO continues to prioritize lavish transportation and decadent accommodations over thorough, sustained responses to deadly diseases. Just as the UN sub-agency dawdled in its response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak and prematurely withdrew its experts from hard-hit areas, the WHO continues to show its skittishness in combatting coronavirus. In exchange for nearly $5 billion in bloated biennial budgets, global taxpayers deserve a robust WHO that will protect patients and hold China accountable for disease cover-ups. Instead we get an inept global bureaucracy beholden to strongmen instead of coronavirus victims. It’s time for the WHO to step up their game and counter this deadly disease.”

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