U.S. withdrawal from WHO could harm global public health

There could be severe public health consequences if the U.S. withdraws from the World Health Organization (WHO), according to two experts from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

A U.S. withdrawal from the WHO, as proposed by President Trump, would weaken the agency and hinder its ability to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and the myriad other global public health problems the WHO addresses, said experts quoted in a May 30, 2020 STAT article. Ashish Jha, K.T. Li Professor of Global Health at Harvard Chan School and director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said, “The U.S. has played an outsized role in global health … across a range of issues. And I think its absence at the WHO would really harm the organization.”

A June 1, 2020 article on NPR echoed experts’ concern at the prospect of a U.S. withdrawal from the WHO. Howard Koh, Harvey V. Fineberg Professor of the Practice of Public Health Leadership at Harvard Chan School and a former assistant secretary for health in the Obama administration, said, “This decision is really so short-sighted and ill-advised, and all it does is put American lives at risk.”

Read the STAT article: Experts warn of dire global health consequences if U.S. withdraws from the World Health Organization

Read the NPR article: WHO’s measured reaction to Trump’s pledge to cut U.S. ties to the agency