Three people wearing vests of World Health Organization and UNICEF observing shipping pallets being off-loaded from an airplane at night.
UN Volunteers Rokayya Konsowa (left) and Heba Heba Abou Bakr (centre) at Cairo International Airport, while receiving Egypt's first COVID-19 vaccine shipment.

UN Volunteers bring motivation, commitment and diversity to the UN system

Over the past five years, more than 1,000 UN Volunteers have dedicated their skills and time to the WOrld Health Organization (WHO), making a significant impact on improving public health systems globally. In the Eastern Mediterranean Region, UN Volunteers have partnered with WHO across 13 countries, working towards Health for All by All. Currently, there are 130 UN Volunteers serving WHO offices in the Arab States region.

Medical, technical, administration and communications expertise

UN Volunteers in our countries have played a crucial role in supporting WHO programmes. With a diverse skill set, these volunteers have contributed expertise in medical and technical cooperation fields, as well as in areas such as public information, financial management, administration and more. They have been at the forefront of COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, providing vital support in data collection and analysis, awareness raising, combating misinformation and vaccine rollout. Currently, UN Volunteers are of invaluable support to the emergency response in Sudan.

Let's take a closer look at the impact of UN Volunteers in specific countries.

UN Volunteers serving in Egypt and Sudan

In Egypt, Walaa Ismail and Abdallah Gaballah, experienced epidemiologists and national UN Volunteers, acted as focal points for monitoring and evaluating COVID-19 and its variants. Their work included data and risk analysis from the region and supporting the development of COVID-19 response plans.

In Sudan, UN Volunteers Areeg Abbas, Eman Hammad, Mohamed Maher Saad and Waleed Ali Ahmed have made significant contributions.

Mohamed, as a Public Health Specialist, is supporting the development of a digital library and a mobile application called Health Pulse, facilitating disease surveillance, treatment and management of chronic diseases. Waleed, as a Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, is strengthening health systems and delivering training to improve health services that reach more patients.

These UN Volunteers are driven by a desire to make a difference and a passion for service. They bring positivity, creativity and a willingness to go the extra mile to support the goals of Health for All by All. They understand the challenges and gaps that exist but remain dedicated to finding innovative solutions and building capacity within communities.

Working for Health for All, together with UN Volunteers

Volunteering with the UN provides a unique opportunity for personal growth, cultural exchange and professional development. UN Volunteers, like Mohamed and Waleed, have not only contributed to improving public health but have also gained invaluable experience and expanded their knowledge.

This article was first published by the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean.