UN celebrates 70th anniversary of WHO as health crisis in Syria persists

UN celebrates 70th anniversary of WHO as health crisis in Syria persists

Today, the UN celebrates World Health Day 2018 by honouring the 70th anniversary of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Seven

Syria Photo

Karam Al-Masri/AFP/Getty Images

Today, the UN celebrates World Health Day 2018 by honouring the 70th anniversary of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Seven decades since its creation, the UN’s premier global public health body still has a lot of work to do. The health crisis in Syria, for example, remains a top priority.

Since 2011, Syria has been plagued by conflict, resulting in what the UNHCR has called “the biggest humanitarian and refugee crisis of our time”. The fighting has led to the near collapse of the country’s healthcare infrastructure –like hospitals and local health clinics–leaving some 11.5 million Syrians, including nearly 5 million children, without adequate access to healthcare.

Although the fighting in Syria is moving in the direction of a conclusion, the country’s health crisis will outlast the war. The WHO will work to restore Syrian healthcare infrastructure to reduce the chances of post-war destabilisation. However, as the organisation suffers from significant budget shortfalls –nearly $80 million in its Contingency Fund for Emergencies alone –expect the body to continue appeals to the international community for aid to close these gaps.

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