5 places where WHO needs more emergencies funding to help people now
To help people living in some of the world’s most dire emergency situations, WHO relies on funding from Member States. In 2017, WHO has asked for US$ 547 million to deliver health services to more than 66 million people in 28 countries. However, to date, WHO has received less than a quarter of the funds required. Without a significant increase in funding, the health of millions of people will be neglected and many will die needlessly.
In Yemen, people are facing a massive cholera outbreak. More than 300 000 suspected cholera cases have been reported, including more than 1700 deaths. This is considered the world’s largest cholera outbreak right now in what was already the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. WHO and partners are in a race against time to ensure that people can access clean water, appropriate sanitation and cholera treatment.
Somalia is on the brink of famine. Disease outbreaks are on the rise amongst malnourished people, especially children. Measles is a major killer of children during emergencies. Immunizing against measles in emergencies saves lives. It is one of the most cost-effective preventive public health measures. WHO and partners need more funds to undertake a nationwide measles campaign to vaccinate 4.4 million children.
In north-eastern Nigeria, some 5.2 million people face food insecurity. When people are malnourished, preventable diseases like cholera and malaria can turn deadly. The biggest killer is often malaria. WHO and health sector partners are working with the Nigerian Government to support malaria control efforts, such as distribution of bed nets and providing malaria drugs. However, efforts will fall short without more funds, especially for health sector partners. More than 10 000 people could die from preventable deaths due to malaria in the coming months.
South Sudan is dealing with a several complex health emergencies, including famine, conflict and disease outbreaks. Some 6 million people are at risk of starvation. To coordinate an effective response, WHO leads the Health Cluster, a group of 35 humanitarian and emergency partners working together to provide health services. Without new funds, the Health Cluster risks losing four critical sub-national health cluster coordinator functions. These roles are essential for taking actions to deliver health services in some of the country’s worst affected areas, including counties struck by famine.
The current fighting around Ar-Raqqa, Syria has displaced some 150 000 people. Many are living in temporary camps with limited access to health services, water and sanitation services. WHO and partners are working to improve the health of displaced people and those caught in the cross fire. For example, in May, WHO airlifted supplies sufficient for more than 360 000 medical treatments for distribution to camps hosting displaced people and Ar-Raqqa once access is gained. In June, WHO filled gaps in acute shortages of lifesaving medicines in the two main camps hosting displaced persons in rural Ar-Raqqa by delivering a shipment of more than 12 000 treatments for chronic diseases, infectious and diarrhoeal diseases.