Agencies welcome funding to save millions from rapid spread of two diseases

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF have welcomed £10m in funding to bolster polio and measles programmes in eight countries.

King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) is providing both organisations with £5m each in response to a call for emergency action against polio and measles. 

person holding white ballpoint pen

WHO and UNICEF have urged countries to prioritise vaccination for children as they rebuild their immune systems after the COVID-19 pandemic, which left millions vulnerable at a heightened risk of developing preventable diseases. 

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO said: ‘KSrelief’s generous support will help WHO to save children’s lives, benefiting an estimated 50 million people and averting major outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases including polio and measles in Somalia, Iraq and Sudan.’

The generous donation from KSrelief has allowed for WHO to support the polio and measles programmes in Somalia, Iraq and Sudan through the procurement of laboratory equipment, enhancing surveillance and helping to train campaign vaccinators.   

UNICEF will support five high-risk countries which include Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea and Pakistan. These countries will now be equipped with cold chain supplies, syringes and offered recruitment and training of vaccinators.

Catherine Russell, Executive Director of UNICEF has also commented: ‘We can’t let COVID-19 drive new epidemics of childhood disease.

‘The pandemic disrupted routine immunization services around the world, leaving millions of vulnerable children at heightened risk of polio, measles and other preventable childhood diseases.

‘This new agreement will translate into lives saved and stronger immunization systems that will benefit millions of children.’

Dr Abdullah Al Rabeeah, Supervisor General of KSrelief said: ‘This cooperation agreement will strengthen global action to protect vulnerable children at increased risk from preventable childhood diseases; it also affirms the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s dedication to saving lives and safeguarding futures.

‘The agreement is the result of the Kingdom’s commitment to working with the WHO and UNICEF to jointly address global health challenges.’

The agreement to accept the funding from KSrelief was signed on the sidelines of the World Health Summit in Berlin.  

Photo by CDC


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