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$16b funding gap stalls global response to COVID-19 – WHO

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AT LEAST $15.1 billion is required to close the funding gap of more than $16 billion of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT-Accelerator) partnership.

 Director-General of World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, stated this while speaking during the just concluded G7 summit in United Kingdom.

According to him, many countries are now facing a surge in new cases without vaccines, even as he commended the G7 countries for their commitment to sharing at least 870 million doses of vaccines.

“ACT-Accelerator is a proven and operational global collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. ACT-Accelerator need funds to strengthen health systems and protect health workers administering the necessary tools.

 He needs funds to test, detect and contain hot spots, as well as to identify new variants that will continue to appear; and treatments to save the lives of those who will continue to catch and suffer from COVID-19. There is an urgent need for treatments like oxygen, which is seeing an increase in demand five times – and in cases like India, 10 times – more than needed before the pandemic.

 The funding needed for the ACT-Accelerator will address the challenges of getting products to where they are needed most, helping establish testing for 500 million people in low- and middle-income countries of by mid-2021. Funds are also needed to help secure the necessary oxygen supply as well as distribute 165 million doses of treatment, including dexamethasone which can save the lives of people seriously ill with COVID,” he said.

Calling for more support to close the funding gap in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, Ghebreyesus said that many other countries were now facing an increase in the number of vaccine-free cases.

Meanwhile, the G7 has committed one billion doses since the February 2021 virtual G7 Early Leaders’ Summit, including pledges made at the G20 Global Health Summit.

In a landmark agreement at the Summit, held in Cornwall, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, global leaders pledged to share COVID-19 vaccine doses internationally, in support of global equitable access and to help end the acute phase of the pandemic.

Building on the momentum of the G20 Global Health Summit, G7 countries committed to sharing at least 870 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines directly, with the aim to deliver at least half by the end of 2021, and reaffirmed their support for COVAX as “the primary route for providing vaccines to the poorest countries.”

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