Additional $1.96b needed to coordinate global COVID-19 response – WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) needs an additional $1.96 billion in 2021 to continue coordinating the global COVID-19 pandemic response. More than 60 per cent of this amount would go towards requirements for the “Access to COVID-19 tools”, including diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.

The WHO is making an appeal for continued support as the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund marks its first anniversary.

A statement by the WHO made available to said the fund has raised more than $242 million from more than 661,000 individuals, corporations, and other organizations to support the  WHO and partners’ global COVID-19 response.

“The fund helps WHO to deploy lifesaving supplies, information and research to countries across the globe,” it added.

One year ago, the WHO created the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund to respond to the unprecedented show of support by individuals and companies to help the fight against the pandemic.

“Powered by the UN Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, it was developed as an innovative platform to enable private companies, individuals and other organizations to contribute directly to WHO’s efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to COVID-19 around the world,” the statement noted.

It added that the fund’s first year has seen unprecedented solidarity and more than 661,000 donors have contributed nearly $250 million.

According to the statement, the funds have been used to provide millions of frontline workers critical personal protective equipment, medical supplies, and testing kits including managing misinformation.

Support had also gone to vulnerable populations like refugees and displaced persons and helped accelerate the research on vaccines, tests, and treatments.

The Solidarity Response Fund has been a critical source of funding for the WHO’s overall response.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the WHO has shipped nearly 250 million items of personal protective equipment and vital medical supplies including oxygen across more than 150 countries.

It has strengthened hundreds of national and subnational laboratories with technical support, supplied more than 250 million COVID-19 tests, coordinated the deployment of more than 180 teams across the world and supported more than 12 000 intensive care beds in health systems that might otherwise have been overwhelmed.

The WHO noted that despite this progress, current trends show that the fight is far from over.

The global body is therefore making a renewed call for action for funds to contribute to the estimated   $1.96 billion required HO in 2021 to respond to remaining and new challenges in the fight against COVID-19.

According to the WHO, contributions to the next phase of the fund will support its efforts together with its partners to continue to suppress transmission, reduce exposure, counter misinformation, protect the vulnerable, reduce mortality and morbidity and accelerate equitable access to new COVID-19 tools.

It would also support the WHO’s work with the ACT-Accelerator, to scale up vaccination globally, particularly for the most vulnerable countries, and ensure the delivery of life-saving supplies.

The recently launched WHO Foundation is leading the next phase of the Solidarity Response Fund to support the continuing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, working in collaboration with the United Nations Foundation and a global network of fiduciary partners.

Launched in May 2020, the WHO Foundation is an independent grant-making organization that supports the WHO’s efforts to address urgent global health challenges.

By Eunice Menka

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