London: Richer countries should be asked to better pull their weight in helping the world cope with pandemics, according to a new draft of a treaty being negotiated at the World Health Organization. Countries with more “capacities and resources” should bear a “commensurate degree” of responsibility for preparing for and responding to global health threats, the draft, seen by Reuters on Tuesday (May 23), suggests.
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The treaty, a legally binding agreement being negotiated by WHO member states, aims to address what it calls the “catastrophic failure” of the international community to fight COVID-19 fairly around the world.
COVID-19 has killed around 7 million people since it emerged in China at the end of 2019, disrupting the global economy and ravaging communities. More than 750 million infections have been reported. The 42-page document aims to help the world do better next time. Member states have the option to remove numerous paragraphs from it in future negotiations, including the one about responsibilities.
Sections that have proved controversial in earlier drafts, including around intellectual property and reserving 20 per cent of tests, treatments and vaccines for the WHO to distribute in poorer countries during emergencies, remain in the new draft but could still be removed. No such provision on pandemic countermeasures existed during COVID.
A clause in an earlier draft obliging pharmaceutical companies to make details of their deals with governments public appears to have been dropped.
The document also defines “pandemic” – one of several sticking points that have already taken up negotiating time – as “the global spread of a pathogen or variant” that spreads easily, is dangerous, overwhelms health systems, and requires international co-ordination. The treaty is due to be finalised by 2024.
Also Read: World Health Organization ‘Overstretched’ In Response To Increasing Health Emergencies
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.