ICN says President Trump’s decision to pull out of WHO goes against the global solidarity required to beat COVID-19 and whatever comes next

4 June 2020


The international Council of Nurses (ICN), which represents more than 20 million nurses through its 130+ national nurses associations, is dismayed and saddened by the news that the United States has confirmed it is withdrawing its funding from the World Health Organization (WHO). When President Trump first announced that he intended to withdraw funding for WHO in April, ICN joined with the American Nurses Association in expressing its deep concern and calling for him to rethink his decision. We now join with the American Nurses Association and their partners in calling on President Trump to reverse his decision.

Nurses know from the amazing work they do every day that their best efforts are multiplied when cooperation and collaboration are the order of the day. They will see this decision as a failure that could sadly cost many lives in the months and years to come.

ICN President, Annette Kennedy said:
Covid-19 has shown us that no single country can fight a pandemic on its own. We need to embrace international collaboration at this time because we know what it can achieve: the eradication of Smallpox, which was chased out of some of the poorest countries in the world, happened because of sustained international efforts, funded by some of the world’s wealthiest countries. That is the spirit we need to recapture, that is the kind of unity and cooperation we need to be able to send COVID-19 on its way, and to prepare our healthcare systems for whatever the next global crisis might be.

‘International efforts are needed to combat conditions such as tuberculosis, polio, HIV and malnutrition, which are largely absent or under control in high income countries, but still rife in low and middle-income countries. They maim and kill millions of people in in places where WHO has the greatest opportunities to make a difference. Let us not forgot that it is women and children in poorer countries who are the first victims of health crises, whatever the cause. They are the ones who will suffer disproportionately if WHO does not have the funding it needs to carry out its essential work that no other organisation or government can do alone.

Download the press release here


Image credit: Gu Jinghan