The World Health Organization is appealing for a record $2.54 billion to help millions of people in 54 countries facing catastrophic health emergencies triggered by multiple man-made and natural disasters.
In making the call, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world is witnessing an unprecedented convergence of crises that demand an unprecedented response.
He said the WHO was dealing with an overwhelming number of cross-health emergencies. These include climate change-related floods in Pakistan, drought and acute hunger in the Sahel and the Greater Horn of Africa, war-induced health problems in Ukraine and outbreaks of measles. , cholera and other deadly diseases in dozens of countries. .
“The world cannot look away and expect these crises to resolve themselves,” Tedros stressed. “With funding and urgent action, we can save lives, support recovery efforts, prevent the spread of disease within countries and across borders, and help give communities the opportunity to rebuild. for the future.”
The WHO reports that 80% of the world’s humanitarian needs are driven by conflict and that around half of preventable maternal and child deaths occur in fragile, conflict-affected and vulnerable environments.
The African region faces the highest burden of public health emergencies in the world. In 2022, the continent accounted for 64% of all Level 3, or most acute, emergencies globally.
Fiona Braka, health emergency operations manager at the WHO Regional Office for Africa, said the continent has had to deal with conflict and climate-related humanitarian crises combined with new and recurring epidemics.
Speaking from Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, she said coping with these complex emergencies has not been easy. But she said the support provided by the WHO and its partners is proving beneficial in many ways. She noted that Member States have made progress in dealing with emergencies as they arise.
“For example, the time taken by countries to detect and interrupt outbreaks is getting shorter,” Braka gave as an example. “Investments made to fight the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three years are paying off, with the region better able to cope with the virus and its health emergency response systems strengthened.”
The 54 health crises the WHO is currently assisting include 11 classified as Grade 3. They include seven African countries, as well as Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen.