World leaders demand funds to end Corona

Friday, February 11th, 2022 05:00 | By
A shipment of Covid-19 vaccines distributed by the Covax facility arrives in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Photo/Courtesy

New York, Thursday

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday joined world leaders in calling for urgent investment to end the Covid-19 pandemic this year.

The pandemic could be defeated this year but “only if vaccines, tests and treatments are made available to all people,” the UN chief said.

The top UN official was among some world leaders calling for 23 billion U.S. dollars to support the ACT-Accelerator, the landmark collaboration that makes these goods accessible to everyone globally.

“Vaccine inequity is the biggest moral failure of our times - and people are paying the price,” said Guterres, underlining the urgency to act now.

“Until and unless we can ensure access to these tools, the pandemic will not go away, and the sense of insecurity of people will only deepen.”

The ACT-Accelerator was established in April 2020, just weeks after the pandemic was declared, to speed up development and access to Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. 

Four pillars

The global vaccine solidarity initiative COVAX is one of its four pillars. The partnership brings together governments, scientists, philanthropists, businesses, civil society and global health organizations such as GAVI, the vaccine alliance; the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the UN’s health agency, World Health Organisation (WHO).

The campaign launched on Wednesday aims to meet a 16 billion dollar financing gap, and nearly 7 billion dollars for in-country delivery costs, in the bid to end the pandemic as a global emergency this year.

The co-chairs of the ACT-Accelerator Facilitation Council, which provides high-level political leadership to advocate for resource mobilization, recently wrote to more than 50 rich countries to encourage “fair share” contributions.

The financing framework is calculated on the size of their national economies and what they would gain from a faster global economic and trade recovery. 

As Guterres put it: “If we want to ensure vaccinations for everyone to end this pandemic, we must first inject fairness into the system.”

The funding will help to curb coronavirus transmission, break the cycle of variants, relieve overburdened health workers and systems, and save lives, world leaders said, warning that with every month of delay, the global economy stands to lose almost four times the investment the ACT-Accelerator needs.

Financing will be used to procure and provide lifesaving tools, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers, to low and middle-income countries.

It will support measures that include driving vaccine rollouts, creating a Pandemic Vaccine Pool of 600 million doses, purchasing 700 million tests, procuring treatments for 120 million patients, and 100 percent of the oxygen needs of low-income countries.

“The longer inequitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatments persists, the longer the pandemic will persist,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, who co-chairs the Facilitation Council together with Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store.              - UN and AFP

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