WHO and Canada: Working together to end the acute phase of the COVID-19 and equipping countries to emerge from the pandemic with stronger and more equitable health systems

02 June 2021

This news article was first published in the WHO website.


In March 2021, WHO and the Government of Canada (Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Development) signed two grant agreements in the amount of 130.38 million Canadian dollars. These grants support efforts to end the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic (100 million Canadian dollars), and to strengthen national and local essential health services and primary health care for the recovery and resilience of countries in the context of COVID-19 (30.38 million Canadian dollars).


Supporting the WHO ACT-Accelerator Health Systems Connector Implementation


Canada’s financial contribution supports the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator Health Systems Connector Implementation. This initiative will help up to 75 countries that are most in need of assistance to identify and address health systems bottlenecks and weaknesses inhibiting the effective scale-up and delivery of new and existing COVID-19 tools. It is focused on 7 health systems connector workstreams:

  • Health Financing
  • Private Sector
  • Monitoring and Data
  • Community Engagement
  • Protecting health workers
  • Clinical care
  • Supply chain


The ACT Accelerator is the world’s most comprehensive end-to-end solution to ending the acute phase of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. It brings together governments, health organizations, scientists, businesses, civil society and philanthropists to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.


Ensuring equitable recovery and more resilient health systems


The Canadian grant also enables WHO to assist countries most in need in delivering primary health care and essential health services that are stronger and more resilient, in the context of the COVID-19 response and recovery. The project focuses on an equity-oriented, gender responsive and human rights-based approach, in order to reach more disadvantaged populations who are at risk of being left behind.


The project is implemented under the leadership of the WHO Special Programme on Primary Health Care targeting around 12 countries in most need using the Universal Health Coverage Partnership network—one of WHO’s largest platforms for international cooperation on universal health coverage and primary health care. It responds to the needs and gaps identified by countries and supports Pillar 9 of the COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, highlighting the urgency of maintaining essential health services and systems.


Canada’s contribution will also enhance collaboration among the 13 multilateral health, development and humanitarian agencies working together under the frame of the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All (SDG3-GAP) to better support countries to accelerate progress towards the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The PHC Accelerator is among the seven accelerator areas under the GAP.


A contribution to the Joint Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction also complements this work by undertaking formative research to identify and analyze specific innovations and modifications made by countries to ensure continued access to and delivery of health services.


More about Canada’s funding support to WHO is available in the Programme Budget Portal.