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Delegates approve 16 per cent increase to WHO budget

Gevena, May 28 (AP) | Publish Date: 5/28/2021 1:42:21 PM IST

Member countries of the World Health Organisation have approved an “ambitious increase” in the budget for the UN health agency at a meeting, with some noting that WHO’s chronic underfunding cripples its ability to protect global health.

Delegates at the World Health Assembly on Thursday approved a 16 per cent increase to WHO’s proposed budget for the next two years, setting it at about USD 6.1 billion.

More than 90 per cent of WHO’s funding is tied to specific health issues, and the agency often struggles to respond to urgent crises. 

Dr Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergencies chief, said there is currently a 70 per cent funding gap, which has “left the organisation in real and imminent danger of being unable to sustain core functions for urgent priorities.” 

A commissioned review of the WHO in the wake of its global handling of the COVID-19 pandemic suggested the agency could have acted faster and more aggressively to stem the spread of the coronavirus, but also said it lacked power and money. 

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