1.The WHO balance sheet: President Trump has declared that, US will halt funding to WHO.

  • Where does WHO get its funding from?

  • What does the WHO do with its funds?

  • How does WHO prioritise spending?

  • How have WHO and India worked together in the COVID-19 pandemic?

GS paper 2 (Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India )

What is the context about?

  • President Donald Trump announced that he would halt the funding the US gives to the WHO, which he said was mismanaging the spread.
  • This comes when the global case load approaches 2 million, including over 1 lakh deaths; the US has seen the most cases (over 6 lakh) and deaths (over 26,000).
  • India reacted cautiously to Trump’s announcement, avoiding an official response and maintaining the country’s focus now is containment and management of the outbreak.

Where does WHO get its funding from?

  • It is funded by a large number of countries, philanthropic organisations, United Nations organisations etc.
  • The US contributes almost 15% of the WHO’s total funding and almost 31% of the member states’ donations, the largest chunk in both cases.
  •  India contributes 1% of member states’ donations. Countries decide how much they pay and may also choose not to.
  • Thus for the WHO, the loss of about 15% of its total funding is bound to have an impact the world over.

What does the WHO do with its funds?

  • The WHO is involved in various programmes. For example, in 2018-19, 19.36% (about $1 bn) was spent on polio eradication, 8.77% on increasing access to essential health and nutrition services, 7% on vaccine preventable diseases and about 4.36% on prevention and control of outbreaks.
  •  The Africa countries received $1.6 bn for WHO projects; and South East Asia (including India) received $375 mn. India is a member state of the WHO South East Asia Region.
  • The Americas received $62.2 mn for WHO projects. That is where most of WHO funding comes from and the least of it goes.

How does WHO prioritise spending?

  • The annual programme of work is passed by WHO’s decision-making body, the World Health Assembly. It is attended by delegates from all member states.
  • The decision on which country gets how much depends on the situation in the countries.

How have WHO and India worked together in the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • WHO has been working closely with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and various state governments on preparedness and response measures for COVID-19, including surveillance and contact tracing; laboratory and research protocols; risk communications; hospital preparedness; training on infection prevention and control and cluster containment plan.
  • WHO stands together in solidarity with the government in its firm resolve to overcome this unprecedented challenge.