SWITZERLAND – Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization’s 2020-2021 Results Report tracks WHO’s significant achievements across the global health spectrum, according to a news release.
The report, which was released ahead of the World Health Assembly next week, details achievements such as the delivery of more than 1.4 billion vaccine doses through the COVAX facility.
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 for 3.2 billion people in 58 countries.
Among these countries, 40 have best practice policies, including Brazil, Peru, Singapore, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Other notable achievement during the same period include recommendation for widespread use of the world’s first malaria vaccine, and WHO’s response to 87 health emergencies, including COVID-19.
During 2020-2021, WHO led the largest-ever global response to a health crisis, collaborating with 1600 technical and operational partners to launch the largest, fastest, and most complex vaccination campaign in history.
The Organization spent US$1.7 billion on supplies for the COVID-19 response.
The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (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 and 110 million diagnostic tests.
However, much remains to be done for the world to get on track for WHO’s target of each country vaccinating 70% of its population by July 2022.
Costly effects of Covid-19 pandemic
The pandemic’s high costs were felt everywhere. The report depicts a world that is clearly falling further behind in meeting critical global health goals.
Countries have fallen behind on WHO’s “Triple Billion targets,” which provide critical pathways to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, as a result of the numerous disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Progress toward universal health coverage and healthier populations is about a quarter of what is required to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and no country was fully prepared for a pandemic of this magnitude.
COVID-19 also caused significant disruptions to health services: 117 of 127 countries surveyed reported disruption to at least one essential health service as a result of COVID, with an average disruption of 45 percent across those countries.
As a measurable means of closing health equity gaps, meeting the triple billion targets will be the overarching goal of WHO in the future.
The Results Report details WHO’s efforts toward transparency and accountability, as well as expenditure details. For 2020-2021, the WHO Program Budget was US$5.8 billion.
Because of COVID-19 emergency operations, financing totaled US$7.92 million. The surplus was made possible by the generosity of donors, including 12 Member States, which contributed roughly 71% of the total financing.
Nonetheless, donors provide the majority of WHO funding through specified voluntary contributions. In 2020-2021, flexible funds accounted for only 20% of total financing.