3 in 5 new HIV infections are girls without access to education, says WHO

… Attained 1.4 billion vaccine doses through COVAX facility

Says more needs to be done to achieve 70%  vaccine coverage

By Chioma Obinna

Ahead of the World Health Assembly, a new World Health Organisation’s, WHO, has shown that  the global health body invested a total of $1.7billion on essential supplies to the COVID-19 response even as it achieved the 1.4 billion vaccine doses target through COVAX facility.

However, the report also noted that much remains to be done for the world to get on track for WHO’s target of each country vaccinating 70 percent of its population by July 2022.  

In the report released Tuesday, WHO revealed that countries across the globe have recorded tremendous achievement in healthcare despite COVID-19 pandemic.

It further claimed that between 2020 and 2021, it led the largest-ever global response for a health crisis, working with 1600 technical and operational partners, and helped galvanise the biggest, fastest and most complex vaccination drive in history.

Other achievements the report highlighted includes the widespread use of the world’s first malaria vaccine, RTSS, which has been delivered to over one million children. Also, Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator partnership delivered over one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses by January 2022.

Speaking on the development, WHO Director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “Even as WHO has responded to the most severe global health crisis in a century, we have continued to support our Member States in addressing many other threats to health, despite squeezed budgets and disrupted services.

“As the world continues to respond to and recover from the pandemic in the years ahead, WHO’s priority is to invest even more resources for our work in countries, where it matters most.

“Ensuring WHO has sustainable, predictable and flexible financing is essential for fulfilling our mission to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable,” he stated.

He explained that its global rollout of crucial health materials included, “nearly $500 million worth of personal protective equipment; $187 million in oxygen supplies, $4.8 million in treatments and 110 million diagnostic tests.

“The organisation spent $1.7 billion on essential supplies to the COVID-19 response.

The results report revealed noteworthy achievements beyond the pandemic.

It stated that mandatory policies prohibiting the use of trans fatty acids (a hazardous food compound linked to cardiovascular disease), are in effect for 3.2 billion people in 58 countries.

Detailing WHO’s efforts towards transparency and accountability, providing details of expenditure, the report noted that WHO Programme Budget for 2020-2021 was $5 840.4 million.  

“In fact, financing reached US $7 916 million, due to COVID-19 emergency operations. The surplus was thanks to the generosity of donors, including 12 Member States which contributed approximately 71 percent of the total financing.

“Nonetheless, the largest share of WHO financing is earmarked by donors through specified voluntary contributions. Flexible funds constituted only 20 percent of total financing in 2020-2021. 

“If WHO is to play its full role in achieving the SDGs, delivering on universal health coverage, reducing the burden of ill health and protecting 1 billion more people from health emergencies, the share of regular, stable, predictable financing must increase,” the result of the reports stated.

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