As the world raced throughout the month to respond to COVID-19, several multilaterals sounded the alarm over indirect global health effects of the disease, including increased morbidity and mortality from other causes.
The COVID-19 pandemic informed both the content and the format of the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) on Monday and Tuesday (May 18–19), as WHO’s decision-making body met via video conferencing technology for the first time and focused on the COVID-19 response and essential governance matters.
U.S. critical of WHO, China
Governments and NGOs are postponing immunizations and other infectious disease efforts due to Covid-19, causing a major disruption to services for prevention or treatment of malaria, measles, polio, and tuberculosis, with grave implications for global health.
The multilateral response to the Covid-19 pandemic gained traction this month with progress on medical interventions, logistics, and UNGA operations.
Weeks after launching an innovative fundraising platform incorporating individual contributions, WHO announced in early April that UNICEF would join its COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund as a “key partner,” bringing “extensive experience both in fundraising and in implementing programs.” As part of the arrangement, proceeds from the fund—which allows individuals, corporations, and institutions “anywhere in the world” to
In an email to staff on Tuesday, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore announced the agency’s latest round of senior staff appointments. She emphasized UNICEF’s commitment to striving for geographic and gender parity, noting that the appointments reflect this—“in addition to maintaining gender parity, we have improved geographic diversity to 43 percent programme country nationals,” Fore wrote.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced on April 14 that he would maintain the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). His announcement followed three new confirmed cases in the troubled region, where an outbreak that began in August 2018 has infected over 3,400 people and killed 2,242.
April 17, 2020 – Accusing a “China-centric" World Health Organization of “severely mismanaging and covering up” the spread of Covid-19, President Trump on April 14 announced his d
Photo courtesy of United Nations
WHO issued a statement March 2 defending its Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme—currently underway in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi—in response to an article in The BMJ last month that dubbed the project “a serious breach of international ethical standards.”
The UN Secretary-General’s annual report on sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel presented another grim picture when it became public March 13. Allegations of abuse in political and peacekeeping missions increased 43 percent—from 56 in 2018 to 80 in 2019, the report found.
On World TB Day (March 24), WHO released new consolidated guidelines for preventive TB treatment.
March saw the multilateral community organize on several fronts against a Covid-19 outbreak that was not yet a WHO-recognized pandemic when the month began. On March 1, there were barely 87,000 confirmed cases, 92 percent of them in China. WHO declared a pandemic on March 11.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced this month that in January the organization achieved gender parity—90 women and 90 men—in senior leadership positions and that “we have a roadmap for parity at all levels in the coming years.”