Donors make a difference: Honoring humanitarian heroes around the world

Donors make a difference: Honoring humanitarian heroes around the world

On this World Humanitarian Day, we honor the heroes of humanitarian crises around the world: those who are the first to take to the field and are at the forefront of any disaster relief effort, whether in conflict or in the aftermath of a disaster.

The increasing number of convergent threats has a direct impact on the access of many people to basic needs, including health services. Humanitarian activists are often the only conduit of protection for care, dignity and hope. WHO joins partners in paying tribute to them and their work, by delivering this year’s theme no matter what.

WHO is proud to join the campaign led by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), our trusted partner, and thank them for their strong leadership and financial support.

The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a $2.54 billion appeal for funding in February, to continue to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable during this unprecedented emergency. Read more about some of WHO’s efforts over the past year in humanitarian emergencies. From reaching remote populations in Haiti to stop a cholera resurgence, to providing COVID-19 vaccine assistance to the last stages in Sierra Leone or the Solomon Islands, to continuing the response in Ukraine and neighboring countries. Contributions have also assisted the earthquake response in Türkiye, and helped remove barriers to health and healthcare in hard-to-access areas of the occupied Palestinian territories.

We thank all contributors who supported WHO’s response to alleviate suffering and help communities thrive.

Haiti: Reaching an isolated population on La Gonâve Island following a cholera resurgence

Sailboat from the MERLUH fleet loaded with health equipment and supplies. ©PAHO/WHO

After Haiti’s Western Department experienced a resurgence of cholera, making it the epicenter of the outbreak in October 2022. PAHO/WHO is working with local authorities to coordinate logistical operations and strengthen patient care facilities on the island, particularly in the communes of Pointe à Raquette and Anse à Galets.

To ensure the rapid delivery of emergency medical supplies and equipment, PAHO/WHO sought partners to accelerate response and signed a memorandum of understanding with the NGO Humanité Inclusion and the Mer Logistique et Urgence Haiti (MERLUH) project. Thanks to the MERLUH fleet, “we were able to quickly deploy more than 6 tonnes of equipment and medicines essential for the management and treatment of cholera cases on the island,” said Jude Romain, Health Logistics Technician for the health emergency program at the PAHO/WHO Office in Haiti .

Read more

Sierra Leone: final stages of COVID-19 vaccine delivery

Nurse Kai transports his vaccine via motorcycle taxi to hard-to-reach communities as part of a mobile COVID-19 vaccination team in Sierra Leone on December 8, 2022. ©WHO / UNICEF / Michael Duff

Sierra Leone, a coastal country in tropical West Africa, is on track to recovery after contracting the Ebola virus disease in 2014-2016 when the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

Medical services are still difficult to access in most countries. Although Sierra Leone was one of the first west African countries to receive a COVID-19 vaccine—beginning its vaccine rollout in March 2021—in March 2022, Sierra Leone had only vaccinated 14% of its population.

Nurses and community organizers in Bombali, like in other parts of the country, work around the clock to reach out to remote communities and villages. Nurses Kai and Koroma from the Masselleh Public Health Post, had to travel 20 kilometers over a steep dirt road from the town of Makeni to get vaccines to people who needed them.

Read more

Related: COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership boosts Sierra Leone’s COVID-19 Vaccination with USD 2.8 million donation

WHO response in Ukraine

The WHO team in Ukraine delivered a cargo of necessary medical supplies, medicines and equipment to hospitals in Poltava and Kharkiv in May 2023. Photo credit: WHO Ukraine.

Watch the video: Providing medicine and essential supplies in Ukraine

The WHO response continues. “Many frontline health workers in Ukraine are not leaving and are continuing to work. So we have to keep working”- Laura Lloyd-Braff, WHO healthcare delivery specialist speaking on the delivery of medicines and supplies to people on the ground .

Read more about WHO’s efforts in responding to Ukraine

In the Solomon Islands, there are many rivers to cross

Across the river, vaccination teams and field health services departed from Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, to reach the mountain village of Kuvamiti. ©WHO/Neil Nuia

It takes at least two days’ journey from Honiara, the capital city of the Solomon Islands, to reach the mountain village of Kuvamiti to provide and deliver routine health services and immunizations to the people who live and work there.

Nurse Rosemary Raikekeni runs a health clinic in Totongo on the Guadalcanal coast, six hours’ drive from the capital. This is the closest permanent clinic to many villages in the interior of the island. It takes two hours by Land Cruiser to the village of Kuvamiti—if there are no landslides, and all the rivers are open for crossing or if not, it’s an hours walk.

In January 2022, WHO, UNICEF and Gavi formed the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership (CoVDP) to intensify support for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.

Read more

Related: Read more about the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership.

Video: COVID-19 Vaccination in Solomon Islands: The Bigger Picture

Türkiye: Emergency medical team supporting health response to earthquake

Emergency Medical Team Turkiye earthquake. ©WHO

The earthquake in southeastern Türkiye in February 2023 was the worst in over 80 years. This disaster not only caused heavy casualties in Türkiye and Syria, but also caused thousands of people to be injured, and many people were displaced from their homes.

“WHO initiated the largest deployment of Emergency Medical Teams to a WHO/Europe disaster zone in its 75 year history. These teams are being integrated into the ongoing health response in Türkiye” commented WHO Global Network Leader Flavio Salio.

EMTs are an important part of the global health workforce, providing countries with additional capacity building and expertise in responding to disasters and health emergencies. Consists of doctors, nurses, paramedics and other health professionals from around the world.

Read more

Related: Emergency medical team

Türkiye and Syria earthquakes

OPT: Calling on international organizations to help more doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and ambulances

Dr Shadi, a physician working in emergency medicine at Huwara Emergency Medical Centre, Nablus. ©WHO

WHO documented 9 attacks on health services during an Israeli settler attack on the village of Huwara near Nablus, in the north of the West Bank in February 2023. Access to 7 ambulances and paramedical teams, as well as 8 doctors, was hampered. with 2 incidents involving verbal attacks and intimidation of the medical team by both soldiers and settlers. Shadi, a doctor who works in emergency medicine at the Huwara Emergency Medical Centre, recounts his experience that day.

“Ambulances are unable to move injured people or provide the necessary care. One of the conditions imposed on first responders is that they must get out of the ambulance and walk to provide treatment in the field, where they are not allowed to evacuate injured victims from the location.”

With financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the WHO right to health program occupying the Palestinian territories monitors and documents barriers to the right to health and the social determinants of health, including barriers to health access and attacks on health services.

Read more

Related: Video – I call on international organizations to give us protection – Shadi


WHO thanks all donor countries, governments, organizations and individuals who contribute to the work of the Organization, and special recognition goes to those who make contributions that are completely flexible to maintain a strong and independent WHO.

This week we also specifically thank all donors who support our emergency response efforts through the Contingency Fund for Emergencies and other means, which contribute to our humanitarian health appeals.

Donors and partners featured in this story include:

EU through Operation European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Assistance (ECHO)
GAVI, Vaccine Alliance
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
UN OCHA and Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)

WHO Emergency Fund (contributors in 2022-23: Canada, Estonia, Germany, Kuwait, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Slovakia, Switzerland, United States).

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20 5-Ingredient Mediterranean Diet Side Dishes

20 5-Ingredient Mediterranean Diet Side Dishes

Increasing legumes and reducing red meat is safe for bone health and protein intake, studies have found

Increasing legumes and reducing red meat is safe for bone health and protein intake, studies have found