WHO Results Report 2023 shows notable health achievements and calls for concerted drive toward Sustainable Development Goals

The World Health Organization (WHO) Results
Report 2023, the most comprehensive to date,
showcases achievement of key public health milestones, even amid greater global
humanitarian health needs driven by conflict, climate change and disease

The report is released ahead of the 2024 Seventy-seventh World Health Assembly, which runs 27 May – 1
June 2024. WHO’s revised Programme Budget for 2022–2023 was US$ 6726.1 million,
incorporating lessons learned from the pandemic response and addressing
emerging health priorities.

With 96% of WHO country offices providing 174 country
reports on achievements, the report shows progress towards 46 targets and
highlights challenges.

“The world is off track to reach most of the triple billion
targets and the health-related Sustainable Development Goals,” said Dr Tedros
Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “However, with concrete and
concerted action to accelerate progress, we could still achieve a substantial
subset of them. Our goal is to invest even more resources where they matter
most—at the country level—while ensuring sustainable and flexible financing to
support our mission.”

The report shows advancement in several key areas,
including healthier populations, universal health coverage (UHC), and health
emergencies protection.

Related to healthier populations, the current trajectory
indicates the target of 1 billion more people enjoying better health and
well-being will likely be met by 2025, driven primarily by improvements in air
quality and access to water, sanitation and hygiene measures.

In terms of UHC, 30% of countries are moving ahead in
coverage of essential health services and providing financial protection. This
is largely due to increased HIV service coverage.

Regarding emergencies protection, though the coverage of
vaccinations for high-priority pathogens shows improvement relative to the
COVID-19 pandemic-related disruptions in 2020–2021, it has not yet returned to
pre-pandemic levels.

The Pandemic Fund’s first disbursements totaled US$ 338
million in 2023, supporting 37 countries to fund the initial response to
acute events and scale up life-saving health operations in protracted crises.
WHO continues to work with countries and partners to enhance genomic sequencing
capabilities and strengthen laboratory and surveillance systems worldwide with capacity
increased by 62% for SARS-CoV-2 between February 2021 and
December 2023.

The world’s first malaria vaccine, RTS,S/AS01, was
administered to more than two million children in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi
during the biennium, reducing mortality by 13% among children eligible for
vaccination. WHO’s prequalification of a second vaccine, R21/Matrix-M, is
expected to further boost malaria control efforts.

Elsewhere, 14 countries eliminated at least one neglected
tropical disease from 2022–2023. Bangladesh eliminated 2.

The first-ever all-oral treatment regimens for
multidrug-resistant tuberculosis were made available in 2022, allowing the
highest number of people with tuberculosis to get treatment since monitoring
began almost 30 years ago.

Thanks to WHO’s REPLACE initiative, which aims to eliminate
industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the food supply, an additional 13
countries implemented best-practice policies, bringing the total to 53

More than 75% of people living with HIV are receiving
antiretroviral therapy, with most achieving viral suppression — meaning they
cannot infect others. WHO’s guidance and support have helped countries like Botswana
achieve significant progress in controlling HIV transmission.

use is declining in 150 countries, 56 of which are on track to achieve the
global target for reducing tobacco use by 2025.

additional 29 countries developed multisectoral national action plans on
antimicrobial resistance during the biennium 2022–2023, bringing the total to
178 countries.

the Director-General’s call to eliminate cervical cancer, another 25 countries
have introduced the human papillomavirus vaccine, bringing the total to 58 that
have introduced the vaccine since WHO launched the initiative in 2020.

The report acknowledges significant disparities in health
outcomes, disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that persistent
health workforce shortages require investments in education and employment.

Looking ahead, WHO’s Programme Budget for 2024–2025 aims to
balance investment in the Organization’s normative functions with the need to
strengthen country offices. It aims to fund 80% of the planned budget of
high-priority items, thereby accelerating progress towards meeting the triple
billion targets of the GPW 13 (current WHO strategy for the period 2019-2023).

Thanks to the launch of the World Health Data Hub, Member
State access to health data and clearances of national estimates was

Member States have shown commitment to sustainable
financing for WHO, adopting a path to increase assessed contributions to 50% of
the base budget of the originally approved Programme Budget 2022-2023 by the
biennium 2030–2031. Another element of sustainable financing is the Investment
Round, which WHO will launch at WHA77, to secure resources for WHO’s core work
for the next 4 years (2025-2028).

WHO will work with existing and new donors and other
partners, through an inclusive engagement process that will culminate in a
high-level financing event in the fourth quarter of 2024.

WHO’s Triple Billion targets, by 2023: 1 billion more people benefitting from universal
health coverage; 1 billion more people better protected from health
emergencies; 1 billion more people enjoying better health and well-being.
The13th General Programme of Work (GPW13) was extended to 2025, resulting in
one more biennium to achieve the triple billion targets. The WHA77 will
consider the new GPW14, WHO’s strategy for 2025-2028, for approval.