Best Investment for a Healthier World


The Frontline Health Workers Coalition Urges Continued United States Investment and Engagement in the World Health Organization

On July 6, the Trump Administration began the year-long process to officially terminate the U.S. relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO).

This decision threatens global health security and will impede the ability of the U.S. and other countries to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and other critical health needs. The Frontline Health Workers Coalition urges U.S. policymakers to restore the U.S. and WHO relationship.

Around the world there are now 12,102,328 cases of COVID-19 and 551,046 deaths, according to the WHO’s latest situation report. The WHO is leading the global effort to combat the pandemic, tracking the spread of the disease across borders, providing crucial guidance and skills building so health workers can effectively prevent, detect and respond to the disease, and leading a coordinated effort to develop a vaccine. The U.S. has a history of generosity in its response to global health security, was crucial in the creation of the WHO, and has been its largest funder. The Frontline Health Workers Coalition foresees that the decision to withdraw the U.S. from the WHO will make the U.S. less able to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and future global health threats, domestically and globally.

WHO collaboration is key to the success of U.S. government programming led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy, and the U.S. Agency for International Development in meeting U.S. global health goals, including ending preventable child and maternal deaths and achieving epidemic control of HIV. The WHO has been a vital partner in the Frontline Health Workers Coalition’s efforts to ensure frontline health workers are prioritized in global and national health policies toward meeting these global health goals. Frontline health workers are often the first and only link to essential health services for millions of people, yet the WHO estimates we are facing a global shortage of 18 million health workers by 2030, mostly in low- and lower-middle income countries.
The WHO works with countries to build stronger national health workforces that can promptly respond when an outbreak like COVID-19 arises and that also provide essential health services every day, including prenatal care, safe delivery, childhood immunizations, treatment for non-communicable diseases, and HIV services. Through supporting countries to expand education and training for health workers, improve health worker retention, and collect high-quality health workforce data for decision-making, the WHO helps countries to develop sustainable solutions to address health workforce shortages. The WHO led on developing the first-ever global strategy for the health workforce, Workforce 2030, aimed at ensuring access to health workers for all, and established the Global Health Workforce Network to foster coordination and alignment on implementation of this strategy globally.
The Frontline Health Workers Coalition stands with the WHO in supporting frontline health workers to respond to global health threats like COVID-19 and to increase access to essential health services. U.S. support for the WHO is critical to protect the health of all people in the U.S. and around the world.