The World Health Organization (WHO) today issued a statement commemorating the one-year anniversary of its COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund – an initiative it says has secured US$242 million in donations from “661,000 individuals, corporations, and other organisations.” However, the organisation maintains that there remains a gap to fill when it comes to funding.
“One year ago WHO created the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund to respond to the unprecedented show of support by individuals and companies to help WHO in the fight against COVID-19,” the WHO explains. “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.”
In its first year, the WHO states that the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund has secured the US$242 million worth of donations in circumstances of what it describes as “unprecedented solidarity…[providing]] millions of frontline workers with critical personal protective equipment, medical supplies, and testing kits; to manage misinformation and the infodemic; support vulnerable populations like refugees and displaced persons; and helped accelerate the research on vaccines, tests, and treatments.” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed gratitude to donors, commenting “your generosity has made a difference. On the fund’s one-year anniversary, we have seen what we can accomplish together in times of need.”
Nonetheless, the agency states, “current trends show that the fight is far from over. That’s why today the fund launches a renewed call for action for funds to contribute to the estimated US$1.96 billion required by WHO in 2021 to respond to remaining and new challenges in the fight against COVID-19.
“Contributions to the next phase of the fund will support the efforts of WHO and 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 – including through 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.”