Saudi Arabia ‘incredibly concerned’ about Red Sea, Gaza security, FM tells WEF

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has joined the World Health Organization’s appeal for funds to address health emergencies across the globe.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor-general of KSrelief, the Kingdom’s aid body, participated virtually in the fundraising efforts on Monday which took place in Geneva.

The purpose of the appeal is to raise $1.5 billion to help the WHO address health emergencies around the world, KSrelief’s media department told Arab News.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general, opened the conference, which was also attended by Martin Griffiths, UN under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, Susanne Baumann, state secretary at the Federal Foreign Office for Germany, and several WHO country representatives.

In his keynote address, Al-Rabeeah said: “The WHO is at the forefront of the ongoing fight to meet the healthcare needs of everyone living under difficult circumstances.”

“Conflicts and natural disasters are forcing millions to flee their homes and their countries, and every day, more people are unable to meet even their most basic needs,” he added.

“KSrelief’s strategic partnership with WHO helps to provide comprehensive relief to all in need during health crises of any kind,” said Al-Rabeeah.

He praised the WHO’s ongoing commitment to help children, women and other vulnerable groups.

Al-Rabeeah also emphasized the importance of using evidence-based strategies to enhance the impact of aid and disease-prevention measures. He said that KSrelief had recently implemented five projects in partnership with the WHO, with several others to be signed soon.

These include vaccine distribution, infectious disease control and treatment, and tackling the rising levels of malnutrition and hunger among children, women and the elderly. 

He signed off urging the world “to focus on urgent action and engage more donors to save more lives.” 

Since 2015, KSrelief has provided more than $6.6 billion in comprehensive humanitarian assistance with 175 partners in 95 countries, according to the organization.

The WHO is one of KSrelief’s key partners in its work to support the healthcare systems of vulnerable communities and provide lifesaving care to millions in need.

In 2024, according to the WHO, almost 300 million people will require humanitarian assistance and protection, with an estimated 166 million people requiring health assistance. 

Conflict and the climate crisis have affected healthcare and deepened threats around the world, and at least five WHO regions are now impacted by worsening conflict and security including the situations in Gaza, Sudan and Ukraine. 

The Health Emergency Appeal will support the WHO in responding to ongoing and new emergencies around the world.

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