GENEVA / ZURICH:
The World Health Organization announced on Wednesday the creation of a foundation to tap new sources of funding that could help address a potential shortage of money as it leads the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the creation of the WHO Foundation in a virtual briefing, denying that the move was related to "recent funding problems" as it has been under construction for years.
President Donald Trump has threatened to end funding from the United States, WHO's largest donor, after criticizing how to deal with the pandemic and accusing it of focusing on China. In a letter to Tedros last week, Trump asked the UN agency to launch reforms within 30 days.
Tedros told a press conference that the body had "warned" of a pandemic "many times" in recent years. Countries have found gaps in their willingness to fight pandemics, but funding has failed, he said.
"Fund these plans and make sure the countries are ready to fight – to end the current one but to prepare for the next epidemic that can happen because we are still vulnerable," he added.
Tedros said this month that the WHO's annual budget of around $ 2.3 billion is "very, very small" for a global agency, such as that of a medium-sized hospital in industrialized countries.
He also said that the sources of funding are too uncertain.
The WHO Foundation is established as an independent grant grant agency that will support the U.N. Agency's efforts to address the most pressing global health problems by raising new resources from "non-traditional sources".
Its founder, Thomas Zeltner, a former Swiss health minister, told Reuters that he hoped for donations from wealthy individuals, businesses and the general public.
At the same meeting on Wednesday, WHO emergency program director Mike Ryan reiterated that the body had advised against using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 – a drug that Trump claims to take.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)