WHO calls for US$23.4b COVID support package for low-income countries – The Market Herald

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  • The WHO calls on leaders of some of the world’s biggest economies to help fund a US$23.4 billion (A$31 billion) COVID-19 aid package for poorer countries
  • The WHO’s plan would see vaccines, tests, and personal protective equipment delivered to lower- and middle-income countries through the ACT-Accelerator program
  • According to the WHO, the plan could help prevent at least five million COVID-related deaths and save the global economy some US$5.3 trillion (A$7 trillion)
  • Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says governments must fully fund the ACT-Accelerator if they want to fully end the pandemic
  • The members of the G20 international forum, to whom the WHO is appealing for the ACT-Accelerator funding, will meet Rome this weekend

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on leaders of some of the world’s biggest economies to help fund a US$23.4 billion (A$31 billion) COVID-19 aid package for poorer countries.

Under the proposed plan, the WHO’s Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT)-Accelerator program wants to supply COVID vaccines, tests, treatments, and personal protective equipment to low- and middle-income countries.

In a media statement released this week, the WHO said the plan could help prevent at least five million COVID-related deaths and save the global economy some US$5.3 trillion (A$7 trillion).

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said governments must fully fund the ACT-Accelerator if they want to fully end the pandemic.

“In focusing its energies on addressing the great equity gap for these tools, the ACT-Accelerator is bolstering its role as an ally for countries side-lined by market forces in securing life-saving interventions,” Mr Ghebreyesus said.

“Fully funding the ACT-Accelerator is a global health security imperative for us all — the time to act is now.”

The members of the G20 international forum, to whom the WHO is appealing for the ACT-Accelerator funding, will meet Rome this weekend to discuss matters like global health and economies and climate change.

Member countries include Australia, Canada, China, France, Japan, and South Africa.

South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, said this week in a statement his country welcomed the launch of the COVID-19 funding plan for poorer countries.

“Nowhere is this inequity more apparent than on the African continent, where just 8 per cent of the population has received a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine,” Mr Ramaphosa said.

“Every delay in fully funding the ACT-Accelerator will see the pandemic prolonged, more lives will be lost and more livelihoods will be devastated.

“We need equitable access now to COVID-19 treatments, tests and vaccines, and this is a plan to achieve that.”

The ACT-Accelerator program has already provided significant support to lower- and middle-income countries, having delivered over 425 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to 144 countries and territories through its COVAX initiative.

The program has also helped halve the cost of COVID tests and provided oxygen, COVID treatments, and personal protective equipment to poorer countries.





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