A YEAR after the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund was launched to react to the global pandemic, it has raised $240 million with donations coming from 661,000 individuals and organisations, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced.
The fund helps the WHO distribute lifesaving supplies, provide information and undertake research around the world.
The WHO said that it still needed an extra $1.96 billion this year to continue to ‘respond to remaining and new challenges in the fight against Covid-19’.
The Fund, under the auspices of the UN Foundation, an independent charitable organisation, and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, is a platform for direct private contributions to the WHO’s efforts to control the pandemic.
‘The Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund galvanised an astonishing outpouring of global generosity beyond anything we have seen before,’ said Elizabeth Cousens, President and CEO of the UN Foundation.
‘We put all the resources of the UN Foundation behind this task and were overwhelmed by the global response that enabled us to get critical funds to the most urgent needs in the devastating first year of the pandemic.
‘The Solidarity Response Fund is a true testament to the power of collective action, and what can be achieved when people from every sector and every corner of the world act together to respond to overcome a collective threat,’ she added.
The funds have been used to provide millions of frontline workers with critical personal protective equipment, medical supplies, and testing kits while also countering Covid-19 misinformation and speeding up research into the pandemic, the WHO statement said.
Thanking those who had contributed to the Fund, the WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said: ‘Your generosity has made a difference.
‘On the fund’s one-year anniversary, we have seen what we can accomplish together in times of need.
‘We have achieved so much over the past year.
‘Unfortunately, the pandemic is far from over and we can’t give up the fight yet,’ Dr Tedros added.
The WHO said that since the beginning of the pandemic, it had shipped nearly 250 million items of personal protective equipment and vital medical supplies including oxygen to more than 150 countries, and supplied 250 million Covid-19 test kits.
It has sent out more than 180 teams to countries around the world and provided more than 12,000 intensive care beds in health systems that might otherwise have been overwhelmed.
The Geneva-based independent grant-making WHO Foundation, launched in May 2020, will lead the next phase of the Solidarity Response Fund’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Foundation supports the WHO’s efforts to address urgent global health challenges.
‘It was inspiring to see the world rally behind the WHO last year in the form of hundreds of thousands of contributions to its Solidarity Response Fund,’ said Anil Soni, CEO of the WHO Foundation.
‘That money was put to good use and saved countless lives.
‘I am committed to maintaining the success of the Fund as a vehicle for individuals and corporations to power the global fight against Covid-19.
‘This pandemic won’t be over anywhere until it’s over everywhere, and donations to the Solidarity Response Fund help move the world towards that goal,’ he added.