Together with our partners, we fund the greatest opportunities to strengthen world health capacity, so that humanity is ready to deal with the health challenges of today and tomorrow. From averting pandemics, to promoting health, preventing diseases and improving health systems, we reduce health risks by building awareness and supporting our partners, including WHO, in establishing global preparedness for any health emergency that may arise.
Today’s health systems have come a long way. Over the last century, life expectancy has grown substantially. Infectious diseases are better managed, childhood deaths have been greatly reduced and access to clean water is more widespread. However, there is still an immense amount that needs to be achieved before everyone benefits equally from this progression.
Our initiatives focus on eleven thematic areas, which are divided under the three WHO pillars of: Serve the vulnerable; Keep the world safe; and Promote health, and under Foundations: the essential basis of building a healthier future for everyone.
Serve the vulnerable
Spotlight: Women’s labor and childbirth rights remain the same in a pandemic
Evidence shows that women’s childbirth experiences are greatly
improved when they have a companion of their choice present. This could
be the father, a family member or a doula who protects the woman’s
interests and welfare, while providing emotional support. Benefits can
include shorter labor times, decreased caesareans and more positive baby
health indicators, as measured in the first five minutes after birth.
Despite the positive outcomes, many countries do not have policies in place, or worse still, companions are not permitted. Even where they are permitted, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant health facilities stop companions from being present. Advocating for, sharing information about the need and forcing healthcare providers to consider women’s basic human rights are all essential to ensuring women have the choice.
Keep the world safe
Spotlight: The pandemic that is bringing us all together
Covid-19 is an unprecedented challenge for us all. The pandemic is impacting
communities everywhere and the urgency to work as one world is now critical.
WHO has been leading the global response since the onset of the outbreak,
supported by its partners, including the WHO Foundation. Together, we are
working to end the pandemic and ensure health systems are better prepared
for future emergencies.
Currently, WHO-led efforts are focused on speeding up research and development into vaccines and treatments, supporting nations and their health systems to better anticipate and respond to the evolution of the virus, ensuring essential supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers and test kits are sourced and shared, and communicating at all levels about what every person in the world needs to do to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities.
To support these efforts, WHO set up the Solidarity Response Fund (SRF) to give people around the world an opportunity to come together and support WHO’s work, together with partners, to address COVID-19. Today, this is more important than ever. Despite the impressive scale of the response to date, there is still so much to be done. In addition to the SRF, the Foundation is raising awareness and funding through art, music, sport and other avenues, working with respected and well-known organizations to build support on a scale that can turn the crisis around. By coming together, with your help as well, we can invest in every life and shape the future.
Spotlight: Moving beyond the stigma of mental health
Every family, every community, in all parts of the world is affected by
mental health, and in many places, the situation is getting worse, compounded
by health emergencies and conflicts. Around 450 million people currently
suffer from mental health issues, but two-thirds of those known to be ill
never speak with health professionals. Opening up still creates huge fears
of discrimination and stigmatization, so many illnesses go untreated.
Awareness campaigns, which have been increasingly visible, are just the beginning. For anyone seeking help, if the right support services are not available due to lack of funding, all the awareness efforts have been wasted. Mental health experts around the world are urgently calling for increased investment to expand access to care alongside making sure those affected are aware of the risks of coping alone.
Building a healthier future