China announced an additional grant for WHO
China on 23 April 2020 announced an additional $30 million grant to the World Health Organisation, days after Beijing expressed "serious concern" over US President Donald Trump's decision to freeze the funding for the global health agency over its handling of the COVID-19 crisis. The grant will be in addition to the $20 million provided by China earlier to the WHO.
- China hinted at stepping up its monetary contribution to the UN health agency on April 15. Beijing's response came a day after Trump announced to put a "very powerful" hold on US' funding to the WHO, accusing the UN agency of being "very China-centric" and criticising it for having "missed the call" in its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
- China expresses serious concern over the US announcement to halt its funding to WHO, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian had said in response to Trump's announcement.
- He said China will always support the Geneva-based WHO in playing an important role in international public health and global anti-epidemic response.
- China has provided $20 million to the WHO (to fight COVID-19) and we will study the relevant matter", indicating that Beijing was considering increasing its contribution to the global health body.
- Both China and the WHO faced serious criticism over lack of transparency especially about the discovery of the coronavirus in December last year and its silent spread in Wuhan until Beijing imposed lockdown in the city on January 23.
- By that time, over five million people from Wuhan were reported to have left for holiday destinations at home and abroad to celebrate the Chinese new year, which many allege resulted in the spreading of the deadly virus worldwide.
- China has denied the allegations of any cover-up, saying it was the first country to report the COVID-19 to the WHO.
How much does the U.S. give WHO?
- The U.S. is the WHO’s largest contributor.
- The organisation’s funding is of two types — assessments or member dues and voluntary contributions.
- The total funds for the 2020-2021 biennium included $957 million in assessments and $4.9 billion in voluntary contributions.
- Over the last decade, the U.S.’s assessed contributions have been in the $107-$119 million range while voluntary contributions have been in the $102-$402 million range, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health-focused non-profit.
- For the 2018 and 2019 biennium, the U.S. contributed about 20% of WHO’s budget, according to a National Public Radio (NPR) report.
- This money went as assessment fees ($237 million) or pledges towards programmes (over $656 million) from voluntary contributions.
- The major share of the U.S. programmatic funding went towards polio eradication ($158 million), increasing access to essential health and human services ($100 million) and vaccine-preventable disease ($44 million), according to the NPR.