Health

WHO partners meet to find ways of improving global health

Over 150 representatives of member states, intergovernmental organisations, academic institutions, civil society, philanthropic foundations and the private sector have gathered in Stockholm to find ways to finance the triple-billion target

 
By Vibha Varshney
Last Updated: Wednesday 10 April 2019
Photo: WHO / E Soteras Jalil

Over 150 representatives of member states, intergovernmental organisations, academic institutions, civil society, philanthropic foundations and the private sector have gathered in Stockholm to find ways to finance the World Health Organization's (WHO) triple-billion target. The United Nations agency needs an estimated $14.1 billion (about Rs 97,500 crore at the current exchange rate).

The triple-billion target, under WHO’s 13th General Programme of Work (2019-2023) aims:

  • To provide a billion more people with universal health coverage
  • To protect another billion people from health emergencies 
  • To provide a further billion with better health and well-being over the next five years.

Of the $14.1 billion:

  • $2.5 billion is marked for humanitarian expenses and emergencies
  • $1.6 billion for polio eradication
  • $10 billion for WHO's base budget, including global, regional and country activities.

This is a $1.2 billion increase over the previous work period. “Global cigarette sales in 2017 were $700 billion. That is what people spend every year on health-destroying products. That is 250 times more than what WHO needs to protect and promote the most precious commodity on earth — human health,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Sweden is WHO’s leading supporter in terms of flexible voluntary contributions, which WHO can use when and where they are needed such as in times of a diseases epidemic or for strengthening underfunded programmes. The money would help the specialised agency's new initiatives such as strengthening routine vaccination and health systems affected by polio transition. For this, $667 million has already been earmarked.

The meeting had representatives from funding agencies such as The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. They will discuss ways for WHO to maximise impact of partner investments.

“We want your honest feedback on how WHO can be a better partner. Partners forum is an opportunity to talk informally and candidly about how we can work together more effectively to achieve our common vision,” Ghebreyesus said.

The Inaugural WHO Partners Forum is the first in a series of conversations that the UN arm has planned to meet the strategic goals. According to WHO, well-targeted expenditure from 2019–2023 would save 29 million lives, while adding more than 100 million healthy years of life. This presents a unique return on investment.

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