President Joe Biden has returned the United States to the fold of the World Health Organization (WHO), dispatching his Chief Medical Adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, to address the body and make that return official.
“I am honored to announce that the United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization,” Fauci said. “Yesterday, President Biden signed letters retracting the previous Administration’s announcement to withdraw from the organization, and those letters have been transmitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and to you Dr. Tedros, my dear friend. In addition to retracting the notification of withdrawal and retaining membership in the WHO, the United States will cease the drawdown of U.S. staff seconded to the WHO and will resume regular engagement of U.S. government personnel with the WHO both directly and through our WHO Collaborating Centers.”
Recognizing the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world and the WHO’s efforts to combat that viral threat, Fauci lauded the scientists, public health officials, and health workers that have been involved in those efforts. As part of that recognition, he also rededicated the U.S. to paying financial obligations to the organization. This will be coupled with ongoing technical collaboration and the Global Health Security Agenda’s pursuit to push global health efforts worldwide.
The new administration does not plan to return to past commitments alone. It also intends to work with other governments and parties to address the pandemic, which has killed more than 2 million people and infected nearly 1 billion since it first appeared.
“President Biden will issue a directive later today which will include the intent of the U.S. to join COVAX and support the ACT-Accelerator to advance multilateral efforts for COVID-19 vaccine, therapeutic, and diagnostic distribution, equitable access, and research and development,” Fauci said. “The United States will also work with the WHO and Member States to counter the erosion of major gains in global health that we have achieved through decades of research, collaboration and investments in health and health security, including in HIV/AIDS, food security, malaria, and epidemic preparedness.”
Fauci also called for a robust and clear international investigation into the early days of the pandemic and reformation of the WHO and international health emergency response. The United States, he said, is committed to building global health security capacity and pandemic preparedness, creating new financing mechanisms for health security, strengthening supply chain networks, and nourishing science as a whole.