The World Health Organization’s 2020-2021 Results Report tracks significant achievements across the global health spectrum amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

A statement by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General on 16th  May 2022, in Geneva said that the report details accomplishments of the delivery of more than 1.4 billion vaccine doses via the COVAX facility, the recommendation for broad use of the world’s first malaria vaccine and WHO response to some 87 health emergencies, including COVID-19.

Adding that “During 2020-2021, WHO-led the largest-ever global response to a health crisis, working with 1600 technical and operational partners, and helped galvanize the biggest, fastest and most complex vaccination drive in history. The Organization spent US$1.7 billion on essential supplies for the COVID-19 response.

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.”

While giving a breakdown of some of the achievements, Dr. Tedros noted that partners have been committed to delivering the needed result, hence canvassing for more to meet the WHO’s target of 70% vaccination in each country by July 2022.

“The ACT-A partnership delivered over 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses by January 2022. The global rollout of crucial health materials included nearly US$500 million worth of personal protective equipment; US$ 187 million in oxygen supplies,US$4.8 million in treatments, and110 million in diagnostic tests.

The Results Report reveals noteworthy achievements beyond the pandemic. Mandatory policies prohibiting the use of trans fatty acids (a hazardous food compound linked to cardiovascular disease) are in effect for3.2 billion people in 58 countries.

WHO’s REPLACE initiative aims for a world free of trans-fats by the end of 2023.

Thanks to the implementation of measures mandated by WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, tobacco use isdecreasing in150 countries, saving lives and livelihoods.

Due to efforts to scale up life-saving interventions guided by WHOguidelines,15 countrieshave achieved the elimination ofmother-to-child transmission of HIV and/or syphilis.

And WHO’s recommendation of widespread use of the world’s first malaria vaccine (RTS.S) has been delivered to over 1 million children.It is expected to save 40 000 to 80 000 lives a year when used with other malaria control interventions.

A voice for health equity. The report demonstrates WHO’s a crucial role as the world’s global health guardian, speaking up for health equity in a world of widening inequalities.

The grave costs of the pandemic were felt everywhere. The report portrays a world that is clearly further off track to reaching crucial global health goals.Due to myriad disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, countries have fallen behind on WHO’s“Triple Billion targets” that provide critical pathways to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Progress on Universal health coverage and healthier populations are at about one quarter or less the pace needed to reach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and no country was fully prepared for a pandemic of such scale.

COVID-19 also caused huge disruptions to health services: 117 of 127 countries surveyed reported disruption to at least one essential health service because of COVID, whilst the average disruption across those countries was a staggering 45%.

Going forward, fulfilling the triple billion targets will be WHO’s overriding goal, as a measurable means of reducing health equity gaps.

A key role of sustainable financing. The Results Report details WHO’s efforts towards transparency and accountability, providing details of expenditure. The WHO Programme Budget for 2020-2021 was $5 840.4 million.  In fact, financing reached the 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% of the total financing.

Nonetheless, the largest share of WHO financing is earmarked by donors through specified voluntary contributions. Flexible funds constituted only 20% 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.”

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