American Thoracic Society (ATS)

Move to Withdraw U.S. from WHO During Global COVID-19 Pandemic Very Concerning

ATS Urges Congress to Ensure U.S. WHO Funding
8-Jul-2020 7:00 AM EDT, by American Thoracic Society (ATS)

Newswise — July 08, 2020 – The American Thoracic Society (ATS) is deeply concerned by the Trump Administration’s action today to withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization (WHO).

ATS President Juan C. Celedón, MD, DrPH, said, “For over 70 years, the WHO has been an essential partner for the U.S. in global efforts against emerging infectious diseases such as COVID-19, tuberculosis (TB), and other public health threats such as tobacco use. The WHO’s efforts have resulted in the successful elimination of smallpox and saved millions of lives from HIV/AIDS, TB, and other diseases.”

He continued, “Withdrawing the U.S. from the WHO during an ongoing global pandemic is a catastrophic mistake. The ATS urges the Administration to reverse this action. Further, we urge the U.S. Congress to ensure appropriation of the U.S. Government’s annual funding dues and voluntary contributions to the World Health Organization, as well as continued engagement with the WHO.”

The WHO is uniquely positioned to lead the response to global pandemics because of its  technical, communicational, and organizational capacities. The organization has committed to a process of organizational reform and review of the COVID-19 response.

WHO continues to be a critical partner for the ATS and the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) in global efforts to advance respiratory health. ATS members are actively engaged with WHO in addressing the challenges posed by COPD, tuberculosis, air pollution, tobacco use, and other threats to public health.


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