Reinsalu: WHO needs reform

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa).
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa). Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu finds that the World Health Organization (WHO) needs reforms as it failed to act quickly enough in the coronavirus crisis. Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Social Affairs Maris Jesse said that U.S. funding disappearing will seriously impact several WHO programs.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that the country will leave the WHO. Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said the USA has seriously criticized omissions on the organization's part, the "Aktuaalne kaamera" news program reported.

Reinsalu agrees that the WHO was not effective in its efforts to stop the virus spreading in the world during the coronavirus crisis.

"Estonia also wants the WHO reformed, an independent investigation to get to the bottom of problems. Whether the organization can be reformed right now, while the virus is still spreading and the crisis still with us is another matter. We need to be able to solve more acute problems first," the foreign minister added.

Reinsalu said that because there is no alternative to the WHO in terms of international cooperation, it is vital for the organization to remain active.

"As concerns the USA, they have promised to direct sums previously paid to the WHO toward other medical endeavors. I hope it will be used to tackle this virus and other health concerns on a global scale," the minister said.

Maris Jesse, deputy secretary general of the Ministry of Social Affairs, described the U.S. president's announcement as confusing. Jesse added that actual steps by America will become clear in the near future. It remains unclear what the decisions means in terms of funding.

"Should the USA stop making payments into the World Health Organization, it will jeopardize all important programs the Americans have been funding. The organization's funding is made up of countries' membership fees that amount to a little over 20 percent. /…/ The rest comes from donors – wealthier countries, the European Union and private sector sponsors," Jesse explained.

Estonia's membership fee this year is $187,000, while the country contributed €100,000 to the WHO's coronavirus fund.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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