Who Funds The WHO?



Today we have a very intriguing question for you all, who funds the organization which is responsible for carrying out a survey of health concerns around the world? Theoretically speaking, the World Health Organization is majorly funded by two sources, number one assessed contributions paid by the member states and number two voluntary contributions made by member states and other partners. Currently, there are 194 member states funding the World Health Organization.

What Exactly Are These Assessed And Voluntary Contributions That We Are Talking About?

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Photographer: Tim Marshall | Source: Unsplash

According to WHO’s official website assessed contributions are a percentage of a country’s GDP and this percentage is agreed upon by the UN general assembly. These contributions are approved by the member states every two years at the world health assembly. They cover about 20% of the total budget. The rest of the financing is in the form of voluntary contributions, largely from member states as well as from other UN organizations, intergovernmental organizations, philanthropic foundations, the private sector and other sources.

The top three contributors to the WHO’s funding are the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation respectively. The USA, the biggest contributor to the WHO’s funding has now refused to contribute and thereby has stopped all the funds coming from the states.

But Why This Sudden Halt In Funding That Too When We Are In The Middle Of A Pandemic?

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Well, while on the surface it may look like that the US has been struck with the virus and therefore the halt in the funding but there’s a political angle to it as well and a rather controversial one. The current head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is the first African to hold this position. It is rumoured that he got this position only because of China. On Jan 28, Tedros praised the efforts put by the Chinese president Xi Jinping to fight the coronavirus, this not only strengthened the rumour but also faced criticism from many countries including the USA.

The US president blames the WHO for the current state of a pandemic that we are in. He alleged that if WHO had pressurized China to share information about the coronavirus, then 1.25 lac people would not have died. Mr Trump said that WHO has failed to fulfil its objectives and the US is not benefiting by its functioning then why should they give financial assistance of US $400 Million to the US $500 Million every year. This move has been criticized by the WHO head, and he said that this is not the time to cut finances.


It is clear that America played a major role in WHO’s total funding and if the required funds are not received then it definitely weakens our position in this war against the coronavirus. Even though China and Bill Gates have come to aid the WHO but will they be able to cover the dent that the US has put in the WHO’s pocket? Well, I guess only time will tell.