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On this 7th of April, we celebrate World Health Day and the 75th anniversary of the World Health Organization (WHO). This is an excellent opportunity to review the public health advances that have contributed to improving the quality of life of people over the past seven decades. It will also be an opportunity to mobilize in order to meet present and future health challenges.
Belgium promotes strong multilateralism in the field of global health in which the WHO plays a central coordinating role, both scientifically and normatively. WHO is also the most appropriate partner for our partner countries in terms of technical assistance. Therefore, it must be adequately and sustainably funded to meet these expectations.
Belgium, a key partner in global health
Belgium has always played a leading role in global health, working closely with WHO to achieve equitable access to health care for all, especially the most vulnerable. This strategic priority is the essential pillar of a well-functioning health system with health services accessible to all, and will be highlighted during the upcoming Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (1st semester 2024).
Our country has also demonstrated a long-term commitment to supporting several global health priorities: strengthening health systems and universal health coverage; ensuring equitable access to quality health products, including vaccines, especially those from the mRNA technical transfer centre; supporting control of and research into communicable and neglected tropical diseases, including African trypanosomiasis; and ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Belgium is also a strong supporter of the initiative WHO COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (CTAP), which was set up to facilitate rapid, equitable and affordable access to COVID-19 health products by increasing their supply.
Our country also supports the WHO in its programme to promote healthy living and well-being at all ages.
A pioneer in flexible funding
Belgium favours flexible, multi-year funding for multilateral agencies such as the WHO to enable them to respond in a sustainable and flexible way to current challenges and emergencies.
As for the earmarked projects, Belgium has pledged a multi-year voluntary contribution (2021-2024) for a total of 2.4 million euros for research on tropical diseases (Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases).
In addition, in December 2021, Belgium allocated a multi-year contribution (2021-2025) of 8 million euros to the WHO to improve equitable access to health products and technologies worldwide.
Finally, Belgium supported the WHO during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the Global Goal Summit of 27 June 2020, Belgium decided to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic with a 4 million euro contribution to the Universal Health Coverage Partnership in support of health systems in selected fragile states.
Belgian contributions to WHO come from the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD), the Federal Public Service Public Health (to support the WHO European Region) and the Governments of Flanders and of Wallonia.
A successful collaboration in 2022
Last year, collaboration between Belgium and the WHO included the transfer of technology to the bio-medical company Afrigen to increase medical capacity in Africa, and the launch of a project between the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Antwerp and its Congolese partners to eradicate sleeping sickness by 2030.
Click here to learn more about Belgium's strategic support to WHO.
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