More than half of the Colombian population does not trust the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), according to data released this week by the World Values Survey.
The survey, which asked questions on topics ranging from acceptance of homosexuality to trust in government in countries around the world, found that 56 percent of Colombians either have little or no trust in the W.H.O., a U.N. body at the forefront of dealing with the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. These figures were in line with a broader trend among Colombians, who have very little trust in national and international institutions.
Initially less affected than Europe, Asia, and the United States by the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, Colombia is among one of the many Latin American countries that has documented an aggressive uptick in cases over recent weeks. As of Friday, health officials have recorded 357,710 cases and nearly 12,000 deaths nationwide. Around 192,000 people have reportedly made a full recovery. The country has also been in a nationwide quarantine since mid-March, making it one of the longest quarantines worldwide.
The data is indicative of people’s increasing lack of trust in the organization, which has seen its reputation heavily damaged since the outbreak of the pandemic because of its close ties to China.
In June, leaked documents indicated that W.H.O. officials were aware of the fact that China’s communist regime was withholding vital information about the outbreak in January. At the same time, the organization’s leader, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was lavishing praise on Beijing for its supposed transparency and efforts to contain its spread.
According to data from Pew Research published in June, more than half of Americans also believe that the W.H.O. has done a “fair” or “poor” job in its coronavirus response. One of the most fervent critics of the organization is President Donald Trump, who announced in April that he would be putting a halt on funding, describing them as “very China-centric.” In May, he declared that he was considering partially restoring funding to the sum of $40 million rather than cutting it completely.