The WHO is working on the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund that was set up to facilitate a global response by supporting the WHO Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. An initial amount of US$127 million of the fund will go to UNICEF for its work with vulnerable children.
The WHO and UNICEF are working together on the Response Fund powered by the United Nations Foundation and Swiss Philanthropy Foundation.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General, said: “Covid-19 is an unprecedented pandemic requiring extraordinary global solidarity to urgently respond. I’m pleased that UNICEF joined the Solidarity Response Fund.”
UNICEF will ensure families and communities in the most vulnerable countries have access to water, sanitation and hygiene and other infection prevention and control measures.
“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,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
WHO and its partners have also called for countries across the world to invest in more nurses. A new report shows gaps in the nursing workforce and lacks in investment in nursing education, jobs and leadership. Nurses account for more than half of all the world’s health workers and are at the forefront of fighting pandemics.
Ghebreyesus said: “Nurses are the backbone of any health system. Today, many nurses find themselves on the frontline in the battle against Covid-19. This report is a stark reminder of the unique role they play, and a wakeup call to ensure they get the support they need to keep the world healthy.”
To avert the global shortage, the report estimates that countries need to increase the total number of nurse graduates by 8 per cent per year. Additionally, while about 90 per cent of all nurses are female, most leadership roles are held by men. However, when countries allow nurses to take a leadership role, conditions for them improve.
“This report places much-needed data and evidence behind calls to strengthen nursing leadership, advance nursing practice, and educate the nursing workforce for the future,” said Lord Nigel Crisp, Co-Chair of Nursing Now. “The policy options reflect actions we believe all countries can take over the next ten years to ensure there are enough nurses in all countries, and that nurses use of the full extent of their education, training, and professional scope to enhance primary health care delivery and respond to health emergencies such as Covid-19.”