London: A growing number of health emergencies around the world, from COVID-19 to cholera, have left the World Health Organization’s (WHO) response “overstretched”, a senior advisor said on Tuesday (May 23). Speaking at the U.N. agency’s annual meeting, Professor Walid Ammar, chair of a committee reviewing the WHO’s emergency response, said funding and staffing gaps were widening in the face of ever-increasing demands.
The programme is overstretched as demands have only grown with the multiplicity and complexity of emergencies, he said.
As of March this year, the WHO was responding to 53 high-level emergencies, a report by the committee said. These included diseases like COVID-19, cholera and a Marburg outbreak in Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania, as well as humanitarian emergencies like the earthquake in Turkey and Syria and floods in Pakistan.
The report also noted that climate change was increasing the frequency of events like floods and cyclones, all of which have health consequences.
However, the emergency programme’s core budget for 2022-2023 is only about 53% funded, the report found, calling for more stable financing.
The WHO and member states are trying to reform how the agency – and countries – respond to health emergencies, as well as shoring up the WHO’s funding. On Monday, member states approved a new budget including a 20% hike in their mandatory fees.
The report also called on the WHO to look for more efficiencies: for example, in Malawi, four different emergency teams were responding to cholera, COVID-19, polio, and flooding, in ways that may have overlapped, it said.
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NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.