World Health Organisation director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press briefing on the Covid-19 outbreak in Geneva. Picture: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
World Health Organisation director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press briefing on the Covid-19 outbreak in Geneva. Picture: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The AU (AU) — through its chair President Cyril Ramaphosa — has thrown its weight behind the World Health Organisation (WHO)‚ in the face of criticism by US president Donald Trump. In a statement on Wednesday night‚ the AU commended the WHO for its “good work” in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Ramaphosa was particularly full of praise for the WHO's director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus‚ who was described as showing “exceptional leadership ... from the earliest stages of this unprecedented global health crisis”.

This comes as Trump, earlier in the week, threatened to pull US funding to the WHO‚ saying that it was “China-centric” and that it “called it [the coronavirus pandemic] wrong”.

“Overall‚ the AU recognises and appreciates the good work that has been undertaken by the WHO and notes with a sense of satisfaction the various initiatives and measures that are continuously [used] by the organisation to mitigate the spread of the pandemic‚” said Ramaphosa in the statement.

He said the WHO had been a “technical and scientific partner” to the AU.

“The AU calls upon the international community to join hands to support the efforts of the DG and the entire WHO family as they lead the global fight against the pandemic‚” he added.

“The most potent weapon against Covid-19 remains international co-operation and solidarity‚ as we have seen around the world.”