Just seven months ago, the UN Foundation joined forces with the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation and the World Health Organization (WHO) to urgently fill funding gaps in the COVID-19 response with the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Since March, over 633,000 individuals, philanthropies, and corporations from 190 countries have generously given more than US$236 million to the Fund.

This money has been rapidly deployed to:

  • Speed personal protective equipment, testing kits, and other important supplies to where they are most needed.
  • Conduct research on potential COVID-19 treatments, diagnostics, and vaccines.
  • Enable information about the virus to be shared.
  • Support vulnerable populations with infection prevention control and other services.

The Fund and the outpouring of generosity that has accompanied it constitute an act of global solidarity and a commitment to the idea that the only way out of this pandemic is by working together.

Because the Fund has been able to rapidly move flexible funding to where it is most needed, it has already had a tremendous impact. Between July 1 and Sept. 30, at the direction of WHO, the Fund disbursed more than US$41 million to WHO and US$5 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), bringing total disbursements to WHO and its partners to US$219.7 million.

The Fund also supports WHO in procuring PPE, COVID-19 diagnostics, and medical equipment. Between July 1 and Sept. 30, WHO deliveries of PPE alone — comprising medical masks, respirators, goggles, face shields, gowns, and gloves — increased from 5.5 million pieces to more than 220 million pieces, to 173 countries.

What do these shipments and numbers mean? They mean front-line health care workers can be protected, outbreak clusters contained, and lives saved.

Read the full article about global solidarity against COVID-19 by Rachel Bridges at United Nations Foundation.