The World Health Organization (WHO) has appointed Rwanda Development Board (RDB) CEO Clare Akamanzi as one of its founding members of a newly created foundation, an independent grant-making entity.
The Foundation, according to a press statement issued by WHO, will support the Organization's efforts to address the most pressing global health challenges.
The newly unveiled foundation whose goal is to broaden WHO' donor base is also legally separate from the organisation.
WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, the development is, "An important part of WHO's future success is broadening its donor base and increasing both the quantity and quality of funds at its disposal," he added, "The creation of the WHO Foundation, is part of WHO's transformation and an important step towards this goal, and towards achieving our mission to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable."
Akamanzi, who will serve alongside Bob Carter and Professor Thomas Zeltener, welcomed the move and said on her Twitter account that the birth of WHO Foundation is a crucial addition to ongoing efforts to address global challenges.
Headquartered in Geneva, the Foundation will support global public health needs by providing funds to WHO and trusted implementing partners to deliver on the Organisation's "triple billion" goals.
Featured in WHO's five-year strategic plan, these goals aim to: protect 1 billion people from health emergencies; extend universal health coverage to 1 billion people; and assure healthy lives and wellbeing to 1 billion people by 2023.
The WHO Foundation will among other duties simplify the processing of philanthropic contributions in support of WHO and make such contributions possible on all aspects of health and WHO's mission.
"The work of the WHO is vital for both safeguarding and promoting global health - a role that has become all the more crucial in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
WHO's achievements and contributions to global health and the wellbeing of humanity are tremendous, but we cannot take those accomplishments for granted. The WHO deserves a strong, independent, external advocate who can support and strengthen its impact," said Professor Thomas Zeltner, Founder of the WHO Foundation.
Zeltner is also the former Secretary of Health of Switzerland and Director-General of the Swiss National Health Authority.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO Foundation will initially focus on emergencies and pandemic response, according to a press statement.