US withdrawal from WHO saddens CHCC’s Muna

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THROUGH the World Health Organization’s support, the CNMI has adequate critical medical equipment, personal protective equipment and test kits amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation Esther Muna said.

“Losing support from the WHO will have an impact on the CNMI and the Micronesia region,” she added during a press briefing on KKMP Wednesday.

On Monday, the U.S. government announced that it was withdrawing from the WHO which has been criticized by President Donald Trump “for being slow to respond to the pandemic and for being too ‘China-centric.’ ”

The U.S. withdrawal takes effect on July 6, 2021.

“It is a sad news for us here,” Muna said. “Because of its close proximity, when there’s a need for help, we pick up the phone with WHO and they come here within hours because they know how critical their response is.”

She added that the WHO helps the CNMI and the rest of the Micronesian islands by deploying emergency medical teams and assisting local medical teams.

Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios said he shares Muna’s concerns, adding that he hopes that  CHCC “will figure out where to fill in the gaps” if President Trump will not reverse his decision.

Muna said it was the WHO, “with the collaboration of the Pacific Island Health Officers Organization, that assisted us in getting the supplies we need for testing, which was very difficult to get from the U.S. side.”

She added that the WHO also provided access to the supplies for testing needed by the U.S. affiliated Pacific Islands.

“[Federal] funding was not going to work if you don’t have access to supplies and the WHO opened that access,” she added.

Muna recounted that after Saipan and Tinian were devastated by Super Typhoon Yutu in Oct. 2018, the WHO brought Team Rubicon and Americares to the islands to help in the recovery efforts.







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