Harris tells WHO chief Tedros U.S. is back

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris spoke by phone on Thursday with World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to discuss the decision by the United States to reverse its withdrawal from the WHO in one of the first acts following inauguration, fulfill its financial obligations, and work as a constructive partner to strengthen and reform the WHO, the White House said.

Harris emphasized that she and President Biden believe the WHO is vital to controlling COVID-19 and building back better our global health and pandemic preparedness, according to the readout of their conversation.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization speaks during a news conference on updates regarding on the novel coronavirus COVID-19, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland earlier this month (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP) 
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization speaks during a news conference on updates regarding on the novel coronavirus COVID-19, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland earlier this month (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

The Vice President and the Director-General also discussed the resumption of the United States’ role in the global public health and humanitarian response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Vice President Harris also stressed the Biden-Harris Administration’s strong support for efforts to strengthen the global COVID-19 response, mitigate its secondary impacts, including on women and girls, and advance global health security to prevent the next outbreak from becoming an epidemic or pandemic. In addition, the Vice President emphasized the importance of making America safer through global cooperation,” the White House added.

It said the WHO Director-General “thanked the Vice President for the call and congratulated her and President Biden on their inauguration. Both the Director-General and the Vice President reiterated that they look forward to meeting in person.”

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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