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France pledges $100m for WHO Academy

France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,  Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday, February 24, 2020 met at the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations in Geneva to discuss the WHO Academy, which the UN body says will be the world’s largest and most innovative lifelong learning platform in global health.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Photo credit: AFP / FABRICE COFFRINI / Getty Images

The WHO Academy, it was gathered, aims to reach millions of people worldwide, offering high-tech learning environments at a “hub” in Lyon with “spokes” in the six WHO regions. The new institution will provide learning opportunities for leaders, educators, researchers, health workers, WHO staff and the broader public, and will deliver high quality, multilingual learning, both online and in-person, alongside a cutting-edge simulation centre for health emergencies.

The discussion on Monday follows a Declaration of Intent signed by Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic and Dr Tedros on June 11, 2019, and a pledge by France in the amount of $100 million (€90 million) to WHO to support the creation of the WHO Academy, which will be established as an internal division within WHO.

“Technology and innovation in learning are creating exciting new opportunities to accelerate progress towards health for all in every country,” said Dr Ghebreyesus. “The WHO Academy will support millions of learners to maximise health impacts with the best evidence, adult learning approaches and state-of-the-art technologies.”

By propelling and strengthening digital innovations and lifelong learning opportunities around the world, the WHO Academy will play an instrumental role towards achieving WHO’s triple billion goal by 2023 and the health Sustainable Development Goals: one billion more people will benefit from universal health coverage; one billion more will be better protected in health emergencies, and one billion more will enjoy improved health and wellbeing.

According to the WHO, the funding from France represents a commitment to accelerate the development of the Academy, and confirms the engagement of France – considered a longstanding partner of WHO and a key actor in global health – and its strong support to the ambitions of 13th WHO General Programme of Work to ensure healthy lives and well-being for all ages. 

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