As part of its overall financing dialogue, the World Health Organization (WHO) gave an update on its newly formed Health Emergencies Programme (WHE), which the agency says is currently facing a $200 million funding gap.
"For this biennium, we face a double challenge. You have asked us to do more, especially through the health emergencies programme," said WHO Director Margaret Chan in her opening remarks at the 2016 WHO financing dialogue in Geneva on Monday.
According to Chan, voluntary contributions to the agency have remained flat or decreased in various areas, while assessed contributions—dues collected from WHO member states—have remained stagnant.
In January, WHO announced plans to develop a new, single program responsible for the agency's response to health emergencies—from providing support in conflict areas to combatting emerging infectious disease—to streamline its ability to respond to such events.
"This new Programme is designed to be comprehensive, addressing all hazards, flexibly, rapidly and responsively, with a principle of 'no regrets,'" WHO said. Indeed, the new program was designed to address criticism lodged against WHO for its response to recent public health emergencies, such as the Ebola crisis in West Africa.
However, according to a new report from WHO, the Health Emergencies Programme is already facing a massive funding gap.
"To implement the core activities of the new Health Emergencies Programme, WHO must raise $485 million in 2016/2017: at present a gap of 44% remains," WHO said.
Outside of the program's core activities, WHO also said it is facing a two-thirds deficit for its humanitarian response plans and its $100 million contingency fund for emergencies.
WHO, Health Emergencies Programme Update