May 29, 2020 - Parul Saini, Webmedy Team
Today the world is facing an exceptional challenge of fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. The (WHO) World Health Organization is coordinating and leading the global effort, helping countries to detect, prevent, and respond to this pandemic.
How WHO is responding to this pandemic? Know more about what WHO is doing to support countries to fight COVID-19.
WHO has announced a COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, that identifies the major actions nations need to take and support required to carry them out. The updated plan as recent information and data improve WHO's understanding of the nature of the virus and how to respond, serves as a guide for developing country-specific plans. The six local offices and 150 country offices of WHO, work closely with governments around the globe to prepare their Health systems.
With partners, WHO has set up a COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, to make sure that patients receive the care they need, and frontline workers get the necessary equipment and information; and to stimulate research and development of a vaccine and treatments for all who require them. With donations from governments, the private sector, and individuals, more than $800 million has been received for the response so far.
The internet is awash with information about the pandemic, some of it helpful, some of it false or misleading. Amid this "infodemic", WHO is providing accurate, useful information that can help save lives. This covers around 50 pieces of professional advice for the public, health workers and nations, with evidence-based guidance gathered from the expertise of a global network of health experts and scientists, including epidemiologists, clinicians, and virologists, to make sure that the response is as complete, authoritative and representative as possible.
To ensure information is correct and helpful, the WHO has set up a team to give everyone access to timely, accurate, and easy-to-understand advice, from trusted sources. Also, daily situation reports and press briefings, as well as briefings with governments, are keeping the world informed about the latest data, information, and evidence. Many social media and tech companies are working closely with WHO to aid the flow of reliable information, including Instagram, Linkedin, and TikTok; and chatbots on the Whatsapp and Viber platforms have garnered millions of followers, sending out timely updates and reports.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is necessary to make sure health professionals can save lives, including their own. So far, WHO has dispatched more than two million items of personal protective equipment to 133 nations, and is planning to ship another two million items in the coming weeks. More than a million diagnostic tests have been sent to 126 countries and more are being sourced. However, far more is required, and WHO is operating with the International Chamber of Commerce, the World Economic Forum, and others in the private sector, to ramp up the production and shipping of essential medical supplies. On 8 April 2020, WHO began a "UN COVID-19 Supply Chain Task Force", which intends to dramatically boost the supply of essential protective equipment where it is required.
WHO is trying to train millions of health workers, through its OpenWHO platform. Thanks to this online tool, life-saving information is being conveyed to frontline workers by the Organization, and its key partners. OpenWHO also works as a forum for the active sharing of public health expertise, and in-depth study and feedback on key concerns. So far, more than 1.2 million people have registered in 43 languages.
Nations are also being supported by specialists, deployed around the world by the WHO's Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN). During outbreaks, the network assures that the right technical expertise and skills are on the ground where and when they are required most. Emergency Medical Teams are also an essential part of the global health workforce. These teams are highly prepared, and self-sufficient, and are sent to areas classified as disaster or emergency zones.
Many countries are now conducting research and trials to find a vaccine. To help these efforts, WHO has brought together 400 of the world's leading researchers and started a "Solidarity Trial", a worldwide clinical trial, involving 90 countries, to help find an effective remedy. The purpose is to quickly discover whether any existing drugs can slow the progress of the disease, or improve survival.
To better know the virus, WHO has developed research protocols that are being practiced in more than 40 countries, in a coordinated way, and some 130 experts, funders and producers from around the globe have signed a statement pledging to work with WHO to speed the development of a vaccine against COVID-19.
WHO along with the ITU( International Telecommunication Union) and with the help of UNICEF is going to work with Telecommunication organizations to text people on their mobile phones with vital health messaging to help defend them from COVID-19. These text messages will reach people that aren't able to connect to the internet for news. Throughout the globe, an estimated 3.6 billion people live offline, with most people who are disconnected living in low-income nations.