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WHO’s Health Emergency Appeal 2023: Serving those who need it most

Credit: A team of doctors prepare to perform a C-section at Malalai Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan on 21 November 2022. Photo: WHO / Kiana Hayeri

Increasing climate change-related disasters, the Ukraine conflict and its effects on food systems, and the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have created an alarming combination of threats to global health. 

As we enter 2023, the number of people in need of humanitarian relief has increased to a record 339 million requiring urgent assistance.
Climate change is bringing droughts, heatwaves, and floods to fragile settings that intensify health problems and increase the risk of disease outbreaks. Malnutrition caused by food shortages, threatens to cut short people’s lives, particularly those of children, the elderly and pregnant women.  In 2022, 1.4 billion people were estimated  to live in fragile and conflict-prone settings,  and experience serious threats to their health and well-being These crises are compounded by attacks on health workers, health facilities, and violence against women and girls. 

In health emergencies, the World Health Organization (WHO) serves as both a first responder and a provider of last resort for the communities who need it most in the world. Ever present and ever ready to match the best solutions to complex and evolving emergency situations, and to build resilience – strengthening systems for future emergencies.
WHO responds to health crises as they evolve, including 11 of the highest emergency level, protecting the health of millions of people around the world. From multiple outbreaks of cholera, yellow fever, mpox, Ebola, and COVIDI-19, to crises in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Ukraine, the Sahel and Horn of Africa, WHO has demonstrated the breadth of its response around the globe over and over.

“This unprecedented convergence of crises demands an unprecedented response,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “More people than ever before face the imminent risk of disease and starvation and need help now. The world cannot look away and hope these crises resolve themselves. I urge donors to be generous and help WHO to save lives, prevent the spread of disease within and across borders, and support communities as they rebuild”.

Credit: WHO / Rahim Production

WHO’s Health Emergency Appeal is a consolidation of funding requirements, to protect those in vulnerable situations facing urgent crises. It contributes to the strategic target of 1 billion people being better protected from health emergencies. T. Through the Health Emergency Appeal, WHO will provide support to more than 54 health crises around the world, including 11 in regions which require the most urgent and major response.

WHO needs US$ 2.54 billion to continue to fund this appeal during this unprecedented moment of intersecting emergencies. With increased funding and urgent action, they can save lives, support recovery efforts, prevent the spread of diseases within countries and across borders, and ensure communities have the opportunity to rebuild, ensuring prosperous futures.
WHO delivers cost-effective, high-impact responses that protect health, lives and livelihoods. Every US$ 1 invested in WHO generates at least US$ 35 in return on investment.

“It takes a show of solidarity to meet the challenge of health emergencies that are becoming increasingly frequent and even more intense,” said Anil Soni, WHO Foundation’s Chief Executive,  We have the expertise in WHO and its partners, now we need sufficient resources to drive the response to protect people with the care and support they need during crisis”. 

The WHO Foundation works to mobilize resources to advance the mission of WHO, to help build a healthier world for all. The Foundation is calling on individuals, businesses and philanthropists to support the Health Emergency Appeal and to be at the forefront of enabling WHO to respond swiftly and effectively to disasters around the world. To provide a predictable stream of flexible funding to WHO’s emergencies response, donate to


Laura Eboa Songue

January 23, 2023, 9 min. read
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