In January 2023 the WHO launched its 2023 health emergency appeal to support millions of people around the world. The aim is to secure $2.54 billion for the record 339 million people in need of humanitarian relief. This figure has increased by “almost a quarter” from 2022. WHO identifies several “intersecting health emergencies” from “climate change-related disasters” like flooding in Pakistan, to the war in Ukraine and consequences of conflict in other areas. These emergencies as “overlapping” with “health system disruptions” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and outbreaks of measles, cholera, and “other killers”.  

Convergence of crises 

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, described the “convergence of crises” as “unprecedented”. Therefore, it “demands an unprecedented response”. He urged donors to “be generous” and help WHO “save lives, prevent the spread of disease” and “support communities as they rebuild”.  

Of the 54 health crises around the world that WHO is involved in, 11 are classified as “Grade 3”. This is the highest level of emergency and requires a “response at all three levels of the organisation”.  

Funding requirements 

The funding requirement of $2.54 billion is “required to enable WHO to reach the millions of people in need of urgent and life-saving support in 2023”. WHO states that the return on investment is “at least $35 for every $1 invested in WHO”. WHO outlines its funding breakdown in the table below: 

Table from WHO shows breakdown of expected crises costs. 

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus emphasised that it is “the world’s most vulnerable people” who need this support. 

“Working together, we can address these urgent needs, and help communities to rebuild stronger, more resilient health systems, support equitable access to medicines, vaccines, and other essential health products, and help to forge the path towards a healthier, safer, and more stable world.”  

For more from both WHO officials and public health experts on how we can continue to pursue health goals this year, join us at the World Vaccine Congress in April.