Our global momentum against COVID-19 continues.
Companies. Citizens. Celebrities. Scientists. We’re all coming together to help stop the spread.
Just this weekend, Global Citizen and Lady Gaga hosted a huge virtual concert that reached tens of millions of viewers across the planet — a celebration of music and solidarity, and a culmination of the hard work of many partners and supporters that also helped add substantial sums to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and local relief efforts in the U.S.
In just over five weeks since it launched, the Fund has now raised almost $200 million to support the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global response efforts. That’s an incredible outpouring of support — and a testament to the generosity of more than 270,000 individuals all over the world and more than 110 companies and organizations.
Our Fund remains the only way for individuals, companies, and philanthropies to directly support WHO’s global pandemic response — and it’s also the fastest way to get money where it’s needed most.
Since its launch in mid-March, the Fund has disbursed more than $50 million to key partners — more than $30 million to WHO, $10 million to UNICEF, and $10 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Response (CEPI) — to accelerate vaccine development, equip frontline responders with lifesaving gear, and protect the most vulnerable children and families across the planet from the socioeconomic consequences of the pandemic.
With more than 7,000 staffers based in 150 countries, WHO’s reach and expertise spans the globe. Together, the agency’s staff are working with governments and partners on the ground on specific country responses to fight COVID-19. In Afghanistan, for example, WHO recently helped establish seven testing laboratories.
Last week, the UN’s first “Solidarity Flight” transported vital medical cargo to the African continent, where supplies are desperately needed — especially in densely packed displacement camps in Kenya, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Uganda. The flight’s cargo included 1 million face masks, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), like gloves, goggles, gowns, and medical aprons — enough to protect the health workers who are currently treating more than 30,000 COVID-19 patients across Africa. Delivered by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and furnished by the WHO, the flight embodies UN collaboration and efficiency.
By early April, WHO has been able to purchase and ship more than 2 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to 133 countries, with shipments of an additional 2.8 million pieces of PPE to another 79 countries ongoing. The agency has also shipped testing supplies to 126 countries and enrolled more than 1.2 million people in online training courses about preventing, detecting, and treating the virus. WHO has also used funds to develop and publish a research and development roadmap, with a set of core protocols for how studies should be done.
As a key partner in this joined-up effort, UNICEF will lead emergency efforts to ensure families and communities in the most vulnerable countries are fully engaged in the response and have access to water, sanitation and hygiene and other infection prevention and control measures. UNICEF will also ensure children, caretakers, and frontline responders such as social workers, teachers and healthcare workers are supported through evidence-based guidance through its vast community outreach and country programs.
Just last week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the virus not only threatens lives, but also access to education, food, and safety for millions of children worldwide. The Fund recently disbursed $10 million to UNICEF to help protect children in need from the virus’ impact. Using its vast community outreach and country programs, UNICEF will also provide evidence-based guidance on preventing and controlling the spread of infection.
This Friday marks the start of World Immunization Week, a major global health moment to spotlight the need for vaccine research, funding, and access — issues that have been made all the more urgent amid the ongoing pandemic.
As one of the most successful and cost-effective ways to prevent diseases, vaccines currently protect against more than 25 debilitating or life-threatening diseases — including measles, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, meningitis, influenza, typhoid and cervical cancer.
The COVID-19 virus serves as a devastating reminder of what can happen when we don’t have the protective shield of immunization. Because the virus is forcing countries to postpone or delay routine immunizations, there is a significant risk that many children will miss out on life-saving vaccines that prevent dangerous diseases like measles and polio.
Together, WHO and UNICEF lead the globe in vaccine outreach. UNICEF alone is responsible for vaccinating an estimated 45% of the world’s children. When a viable COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, both agencies, along with GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance and other partners, will play pivotal roles in distribution and access, particularly among vulnerable families.
First, the world needs to produce a vaccine. So, we’ve also partnered with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to fuel equitable research and development toward a COVID-19 vaccine. At WHO’s request, we recently disbursed $10 million from the Fund to speed up efforts at CEPI, where eight global partnerships are working simultaneously and collaboratively to hopefully develop a vaccine in the next 12-18 months. Two promising vaccines supported by CEPI have already reached the first phase of human trials.
Alongside efforts to develop a vaccine, work is also underway for effective treatments for COVID-19. 100 countries have already joined the WHO “Solidarity Trials,” including Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand have confirmed their participation. Patients have been “randomized” or assigned to different treatment methods in the trial in five countries, marking the start of the testing phas
Global Citizen and Lady Gaga recently co-hosted an 8-hour virtual concert to pay tribute to frontline healthcare workers and WHO. The “One World: Together At Home” concert featured a variety of artists performing from their homes, including Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney, and others. The concert culminated in a public announcement of more than $55 million raised over the past few weeks for our Fund, as well as nearly $72 million for local relief efforts in the U.S.
The world needs WHO now more than ever,” Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates recently declared of the agency’s role in the global pandemic response, joining a chorus of advocates vocalizing their support for the agency.
“Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19,” Gates continued, “— and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them.”
Every donation makes a difference. Support WHO’s life-saving efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by giving to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Donations made via Facebook will be matched up to $10,000,000. Through June 30, 2020, for every $1 you donate here, Google.org will donate $2, up to $5,000,000.