Sh67.7 billion needed to fight Coronavirus globally-WHO

Wednesday March 18 2020
Corona

Passengers from an international flight are screened for their temperature at Juba International Airport in Juba, South Sudan on January 31, 2020, as part of efforts to prevent spread of the deadly coronavirus. PHOTO | ALEX McBRIDE | AFP

By ELIZABETH MERAB

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that it needs Sh67.7 billion ($675 million) for preparedness and response to the novel coronavirus in countries considered particularly "at risk".

The plan is expected to run between the months of February to April 2020.

“My biggest worry is that there are countries today that do not have systems in place to detect people who have contracted with the virus, even if it were to emerge,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said at a news conference in Geneva.

URGENT SUPPORT

The plan for the new coronavirus (nCoV-2019) lays out activities and resources needed by international health organisations globally, including the WHO, to implement priority public health measures.

“Urgent support is needed to bolster weak health systems to detect, diagnose and care for people with the virus, to prevent further human to human transmission and protect health workers,” added Dr Tedros.

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The objectives of the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) are to limit human-to-human transmission of the virus, especially in countries most vulnerable if they were to face an outbreak.

The plan is also meant to identify, isolate and care for patients early, communicate critical risk and event information, minimize social and economic impact, and reduce the spread of the virus from animal sources, and address crucial unknowns.

QUICK ACTION

The plan focuses on rapidly establishing international coordination and operational support, scaling up country readiness and response operations and accelerating priority research and innovation.

“The effectiveness of outbreak response depends on preparedness measures put in place before outbreaks strike,” said Dr Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme.

“That is why we are seeking resources to safeguard the most vulnerable countries to protect people from the new coronavirus before it arrives on the doorstep.”

FUNDS DISTRIBUTION

Dr Tedros said Sh6 billion ($60 million) of the funds will be for WHO operations and the remainder for countries requiring assistance to guard against the deadly virus.

The organisation will send 500,000 masks and 40,000 respirators to 24 countries from its warehouses in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Accra in Ghana.

Tedros also hailed a Sh10 billion ($100 million) donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, announced earlier on Wednesday, for testing, treatment and vaccine research for coronavirus.

Five countries have confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, with 24,363 cases in China and 191 in all the other countries.