After an almost 45 year career in medicine, I’ve witnessed first hand on a number of occasions the lifesaving work of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in many different countries; whether it be coping with the health needs of refugees, responding to natural disasters, supporting child health through nutrition and immunisation programs, or dealing with pandemics and global health crises.
It is very disappointing to see some very conservative politicians jumping on the Donald Trump bandwagon of criticising the WHO.
It is quite clear that the public health tragedy that is evolving in the United States has the name “Trump’’ written all over it, and now President Trump sees his only hope of re-election is to attack the WHO as a proxy for China.
It is reprehensible that some conservative Australian commentators and politicians have signed up to this dogma.
At this crucial time, we depend on the WHO to guide us through this crisis, and we should strengthen it by increasing its budget and supporting its work.
Australia has fared well so far because it has such a strong public health system, due to the legacies of Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke in creating our public health infrastructure, and through the ongoing support of the WHO.
Other developing nations are not as fortunate, and it is completely irresponsible for us to turn our backs on them now. The work of the WHO is required to see us all through this global health crisis.
In the age of Brexit and building walls, it is far too easy for world leaders to put up barriers and play on the politics of division.
It takes true leadership, on an international scale, to respond to a global crisis.