In an appeal made on Monday, the World Health Organization requested $2.54 billion for its operations in 2023 to assist millions of people throughout the world who are experiencing medical emergencies. According to the UN health agency, there are currently an unprecedented number of interlinked health emergencies that require attention.
It referred to the brutal war in Ukraine, the effects of war on health in Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, and Ethiopia, as well as disaster brought on by climate change, such as the enormous floods that hit Pakistan last year and the rising food shortages in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. Additionally, it emphasised that all of these emergencies coincide with the significant health system disruptions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and outbreaks of other deadly diseases like measles and cholera.
As the WHO launched its appeal, its director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated, “We’re witnessing an unprecedented convergence of crises that demands an unprecedented response. ” “The world cannot look away and hope these crises resolve themselves.” According to him, the WHO is now addressing 54 health crises around the world, 11 of which are classified as high-level emergencies that demand a comprehensive response.
Jarno Habicht, WHO’s representative in Ukraine, emphasised that since Russia began its full-scale invasion about a year ago, the war-torn nation has experienced more than 700 attacks on healthcare, including strikes against hospitals and ambulances. At the same time, widespread attacks on vital infrastructure throughout Ukraine “mean healthcare facilities cannot perform their duties,” he said, highlighting how they frequently operate under “very difficult circumstances” without electricity, heating, or water.
The numerous health crises are occurring at a time when the demand for humanitarian aid as a whole is soaring. According to UN estimates, this year will see an unprecedented 339 million people throughout the world require some type of emergency assistance, up roughly a quarter from 2022. Gordon Brown, a former British prime minister and present WHO ambassador for global health financing, stated that “Specialised medical supplies and expertise are needed immediately, if we are not to abandon the sick to disaster, disease and death.”
During the appeal event, he added, “I want to plead with donors to respond urgently to this emergency appeal to fund vaccines, drugs treatments, equipment and medical expertise.” “Give hope a shot, inject optimism, inoculate us against more avoidable deaths.”