World leaders urged to make firm commitments at second global summit on COVID-19 by ACT-Accelerator agency officials – World
This week, world leaders will meet to consider critical next steps in the global response to COVID-19. We salute the co-hosts of the second Global COVID-19 Summit – the United States, Belize, Germany, Indonesia and Senegal – for bringing together governments around the world to make concrete commitments to vaccinate the world, save lives now and build better health security.
Recent WHO estimates show that the death toll associated with COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021 was just under 15 million, a sobering reminder of the human cost of this pandemic. With a global drop in reported cases, it’s tempting — but wrong — to think the crisis is over. Now is the time to step up, not let up. This summit gives leaders the opportunity to write the final chapters of the pandemic – an opportunity they cannot afford to miss.
It is imperative that leaders seize this opportunity to mobilize the funding and political will needed to meet global targets for COVID-19 vaccination coverage, testing rates and access to treatment, including oral antivirals and antivirals. ‘oxygen. Achieving these goals is essential to ending the pandemic, reducing transmission and protecting everyone from the harms of COVID-19.
A decisive global response will mitigate the economic fallout from COVID-19, including supply disruptions that are contributing to inflation and slowing growth in many parts of the world. Stopping COVID-19 for good will also allow the world to better focus on reversing lost progress against other diseases and getting back on track routine immunization, which is especially critical for the survival and development of children. .
However, the current context to end the pandemic makes this work more difficult. Testing rates around the world are plummeting, meaning we can’t keep up with the trajectory of this evolving virus, with low-income countries testing an average of just 5 tests a day per 100,000 people – far from the goal of 100 a day.
Despite significant progress in increasing coverage rates in low-income countries, millions of people are still unvaccinated and at risk, with just over 15% of people in low-income countries having received a vaccine . Supporting country goals in light of the WHO target of 70% coverage – particularly prioritizing full coverage of at-risk groups – remains the best way to save lives, protect systems of health and minimize the cases of COVID long. Access to effective new antivirals is constrained by limited supply and low testing rates, while shortages of medical oxygen and PPE still plague many countries.
The ACT-Accelerator released a strategic plan and budget in October 2021 to address these inequalities. We have made concrete progress on all fronts, but the partnership still faces a huge funding gap. We, the leaders of the constituent agencies of the ACT-Accelerator, are concerned that after 6 months of our new budget cycle, just over 10% of our funding needs have been met.
Three months ago, we launched our financing framework with ‘fair share’ demands from the world’s richest countries, calculated based on the size of their national economies and what they would gain from a recovery. faster in the global economy and trade. So far, 6 countries have led the way by pledging at least 25% of their fair share – but we need more.
As the world’s attention is drawn to other pressing crises, billions of people continue to suffer from a lack of equitable access to COVID-19 tools – taken for granted in many countries – due to a lack of funds and political will. Countries are juggling multiple competing health, economic and social priorities, but they will drop all those balls if the pandemic drags on and spreads again. A lack of funding for the roll-out of vaccines and treatments limits ambition, ruling out population-wide vaccination campaigns and the intensive outreach needed.
The BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants resulting in increased deaths and hospitalizations in places with high immunity are a warning that the global response must preempt future variants of concern. We must invest in research and development to update our tools, deploy vaccines, tests and treatments to reduce and monitor transmission, while mitigating the impact of the pandemic and protecting essential services. Such actions should underpin an endgame strategy for the pandemic.
The actions set out by the Summit co-organizers will go a long way to addressing the funding and policy gaps that are currently holding back the response to COVID-19. Ending the pandemic in 2022 requires global leadership. Collectively, the wealthiest countries must fully fund the ACT-Accelerator’s $15 billion funding gap, while all countries must commit to national policies and strategies that maximize our ability to control the pandemic, both nationally and globally. The pandemic will not end until access to vaccines, tests, treatments and PPE is achieved for everyone, everywhere.
We can’t afford to delay any longer. Lives, economies and global health security depend on the outcome of this Summit.
This week, we urge world leaders, the private sector, philanthropists, civil society and other stakeholders to make the strong and substantial commitments needed to save lives, turn the tide and secure the future for all.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – Director General, World Health Organization
Dr Seth Berkley – CEO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
Dr Philippe Duneton – Executive Director, Unitaid
Dr. Chris Elias – Chairman, Global Development Division, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Sir Jeremy Farrar – Director, Wellcome
Dr. Richard Hatchett – CEO, CEPI
Dr. Bill Rodriguez – CEO, FIND
Catherine Russell – Executive Director, UNICEF
Peter Sands – Executive Director, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
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