The World Health Organization (WHO) has secured $19.4m in funding from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) to enhance healthcare operations in Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  

This collaborative effort of KSrelief and WHO aims to tackle global health challenges, particularly in emergency response situations. 

The agreements were signed between WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and KSrelief supervisor general Dr Abdullah Al Rabeeah at the World Health Assembly’s opening in Geneva.  

WHO and KSrelief mainly intend to reinforce their joint effort to ensure the availability of critical health services to vulnerable communities affected by disease outbreaks, conflict and feeble health services worldwide.   

In Sudan, a $5m contribution from KSrelief will support dialysis treatment across the country’s 77 renal dialysis centres.  

The funding will be used for the procurement of 100 dialysis machines, essential for individuals with kidney failure.  

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Syria, which is still reeling from devastating earthquakes in 2023, will receive around $4.75m to aid recovery efforts. The earthquakes caused widespread destruction to various key infrastructure, including healthcare facilities.  

The funding will benefit an estimated 350,000 people with essential medications and supplies, while around 4.1 million are set to gain from the restored diagnostic services or/and ambulance referrals. 

Meanwhile, Yemen will benefit from nearly $9.5m investment to combat disease outbreaks such as measles and cholera and to improve water, sanitation, and hygiene services across the country’s healthcare facilities to ensure sustainable water supply for vulnerable populations.  

Through these efforts, the objective is to deliver essential, life-saving healthcare and medical services to about 12.6 million Yemenis by maintaining integrated health response. 

Saudi Arabia is WHO’s long-term partner and aims to continue working alongside the organisation to address pressing global health issues.  

WHO Eastern Mediterranean regional director Dr Hanan Balkhy “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a valuable partner to WHO.

“This contribution from KSrelief is instrumental in supporting our efforts to serve the most vulnerable communities as we continue to address the dire consequences of multiple emergencies in our region.” 

In February 2024, the WHO announced setting-up 17 standard cholera treatment centres across Ethiopia, as part of its efforts to combat the cholera outbreak.