German Health Minister Jens Spahn | Filip Singer/Pool via EPA-EFE
Donald Trump “does have a point” about the need to change the World Health Organization, said German Health Minister Jens Spahn, but he urged the U.S. not to leave the body and to wait until after the coronavirus crisis to consider reforms.
Last week, the U.S. president threatened to end funding to the WHO and pull out of it altogether, unless it could demonstrate its independence from China.
Without mentioning China, Spahn told the Financial Times that the U.S. “does have a point — the WHO needs to reform its governance and accountability.”
“We need to figure out exactly where the money goes,” he added.
But Spahn said now was not the right time to undermine the global health body. “In the middle of a crisis, when you’re putting out fires, you can’t talk about reforming the fire brigade,” Spahn said. “First, we have to deal with the crisis, and only then talk about the WHO.”
U.S. contributions to the WHO are critical said Spahn, adding that he would be “very sorry” to see the country leave.
“Of course the U.S., Germany, Europe — we can do a lot on our own, but there are a lot of countries in the world that can’t,” the German politician said. “They need support and they should get it. If Ebola breaks out in another part of the world then we’ll no longer be able to control.”