KATHMANDU, April 5: The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF on Friday announced an agreement to work together on COVID-19 response, through the historic COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund powered by the United Nations Foundation and Swiss Philanthropy Foundation.
“The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund has been set up to facilitate an unprecedented global response by supporting the WHO Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan,” WHO said in a statement Friday.
As part of the agreement, an initial portion of the money from the Fund – which currently stands at more than $127 million – will flow to UNICEF for its work with vulnerable children and communities all over the world, the statement said.
“COVID-19 is an unprecedented pandemic requiring extraordinary global solidarity to urgently respond,” the statement quoted Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General as saying.
The money collected through the fund will be used, among others, to train and equip communities and health-care workers to prevent, detect and treat COVID-19, the statement further said.
As a key partner in this joint initiative, UNICEF will lead emergency efforts to ensure families and communities in the most vulnerable countries are fully engaged in the response and have access to water, sanitation and hygiene and other infection prevention and control measures.
“This is an extraordinary emergency that demands an extraordinary response, and we need all-hands on deck—individuals, corporations, foundations, governments and other organizations around the world,” the statement quoted UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore as saying.
“UNICEF is pleased to join the Solidarity Response Fund. It will bolster our efforts to strengthen health and sanitation systems and help protect the most vulnerable families from knock-on impacts of COVID-19 on already overstretched health systems,” the executive director said.