Over 1,000 groups pledge $20 billion in aid for women and children - GulfToday

Over 1,000 groups pledge $20 billion in aid for women and children


Displaced Iraqi children play at Hassan Sham camp in Al Khazer. File / Reuters

A global alliance of more than 1,000 organisations has announced $20.6 billion in pledges to help women, newborns, young children and adolescents deal with the COVID-19 pandemic as well as longstanding issues.

The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, which is hosted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), says $16.1 billion are new commitments to address COVID-19, $2.2 billion is new money not linked to the coronavirus, and $2.3 billion is new funding for existing programmes.

MotherkidspoorA mother sits with her children outside her home. File / AFP

Low and middle income countries including Afghanistan, India, Kenya, Liberia and Nigeria pledged a total of $6.6 billion while $14 billion came from international aid and grants from Germany, Canada, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the partnership said. The pledges were announced on Thursday and Friday.

Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark, who chairs the partnership, says: "Our concern is that resources — insufficient to begin with — are being diverted away to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

KidsSyrianSyrian children sit at a makeshift school. AFP

Clark, who also led the UN development agency from 2009 to 2017, said the $20.6 billion will ensure women, children and adolescents can access health services and priority social protections throughout the COVID-19 crisis and recovery periods.

Associated Press

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