Call for USA to reconsider leaving WHO

by Tim Tonkin

The BMA has voiced its support for doctors in the USA following the AMA’s (American Medical Association’s) condemnation of its country’s withdrawal from the WHO.

Location: International
Published: Friday 19 June 2020
world health organisation

President Donald Trump announced last month that he was terminating the US’s relationship with the WHO (pictured), a move which was swiftly criticised by the AMA.

In backing its US counterpart, the BMA has called for unity and cooperative action between nations in tackling the coronavirus pandemic adding that participation in organisations such as the WHO were crucial to this effort.

Solidarity

Portrait of BMA chair Chaand Nagpaul NAGPAUL: 'We support our fellow physicians of the AMA'

BMA council chair Chaand Nagpaul urged the US government to reconsider its decision to leave the WHO, while reiterating the BMA’s solidarity with American doctors.

He said: ‘At a time where we must be acting collectively, any action that threatens to weaken global efforts, such as the US government’s decision to withdraw from the WHO, must be rethought.

‘We support our fellow physicians of the AMA, in calling for this. The potential widespread implications of this decision will be felt worldwide, and it threatens to set us back at the very moment we must be at our strongest.

‘The current crisis is a lesson in the shared vulnerability of our global society and now is the time for solutions and solidarity in the face of this global health threat. The role of WHO is critical in guiding the world through this emergency.’

‘Harmful’

AMA immediate past president Patrice Harris labelled the decision to pull out of the WHO while in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic as a ‘senseless action’ and one that could make finding a resolution to the outbreak ‘dramatically more challenging’.

She said: ‘In the grip of a global pandemic that has already killed more than 100,000 Americans, severing ties with the WHO serves no logical purpose and makes finding a way out of this public health crisis dramatically more challenging.

‘This senseless action will have significant, harmful repercussions now and far beyond this perilous moment, particularly as the WHO is leading worldwide vaccine development and drug trials to combat the pandemic.

‘COVID-19 affects us all and does not respect borders; defeating it requires the entire world working together. In the strongest terms possible, the AMA urges the president to reverse course and not abandon our country’s leadership position in the global fight against COVID-19.’