Global leaders have passed the biggest ever budget in the 75-year history of the World Health Organization (WHO) at the World Health Assembly in Geneva.
The WHO members signed off on $6.83 billion to cover the 2024-2025 period - representing a 20 percent rise in membership fees.
The Director General of Health for Kenya, Patrick Amoth, told CGTN that despite the bump in funding, those nations with the broadest financial shoulders should be contributing more to global health.
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"The WHO is the coordinating and directing body for global health. We need resources so WHO can help countries respond to epidemics, outbreaks and pandemics," said Amoth.
"The only way we can do that is through global solidarity. Those who have more ought to be able to contribute more so that all of us are safe together as one planet."
While epidemiologists had warned of the impact a global pandemic could have, COVID-19 arguably caught many nations off guard. The experience of the last few years has shown it can no longer be an excuse. Experts say we must prepare for the next pandemic – because there will be another.
Building a better future
Maria van Kerkhove of the Health Emergencies Program at the WHO says that the message is getting through to leaders and is being reflected here in Geneva.
"It really requires some strong political will. And that's what we have here, member states coming together to say, what have we learned? How are we dealing with the trauma of the past to build a better future? And that's what that is. It's a commitment of all member states to actually take that forward," said the epidemiologist.
During the pandemic, China sent vaccines and PPE to many African countries, and a report last month by the U.S.-based John Hopkins University shows Beijing restructured the debt of some nations to aid with the economic impact of COVID-19.
"It is very important, not only between Kenya and China and between Kenya and other nations in terms of lessons learned, research and development, technology transfer, local manufacturing," said Amoth.
"And we should work towards enhancing Africa's and Kenya's potential to be able to locally manufacture products and technologies to ensure that we are self-sufficient," he continued, acknowledging that international cooperation is crucial.
Although coronavirus may no longer be a global public health emergency, the WHO chief has warned countries to strengthen their response and prepare now for future pandemics, saying the threat of another pathogen with 'even deadlier potential' remains.
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