World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom on Wednesday said that the world health body "regretted" US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw funding from it.
Trump on Tuesday halted funding to the WHO over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, drawing condemnation from infectious diseases experts as the global death toll continued to mount.
The decision came after allegations by Trump that the WHO was "China-centric". In a White House news briefing on Tuesday, he claimed that the Geneva-based organisation had promoted China's "disinformation" about the virus that likely led to a wider outbreak than would have occurred otherwise.
"The WHO failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable," Trump added.
Speaking at a news conference, the WHO chief responded by saying that the body did not discriminate and stressed that it is a "time for all of us to be united in our common struggle against a common threat".
He assured critics that the UN's health body was "committed to serving the world’s people, and to accountability for the resources with which we are entrusted".
Talking about the accountability process, Adhanom said: "In due course, WHO’s performance in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic will be reviewed by WHO’s member states and the independent bodies that are in place to ensure transparency and accountability. This is part of the usual process put in place by our member states."
Expressing gratitude to the nations, organisations and individuals who had provided financial support to the WHO, he said the body was "reviewing the impact on its work from the withdrawal of US funding" and would work with its partners to fill the gaps left by the defunding to ensure that its work continued uninterrupted.
There has been strong criticism of Trump's decision, with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres saying it is "not the time” to reduce resources for WHO's operations.