- WHO Chief highlighted initiatives like Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator
- WHO Chief talked about positive results of COVID-19 vaccine trials
- Light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter: WHO on ending COVID
Geneva: World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday (December 4) urged global leaders to invest in COVID-19 vaccines as a step to bring an end to the ongoing pandemic. In a press briefing, Dr Ghebreyesus laid out key areas in which the leadership of nations, such as the United Nations (UN) can help to end the COVID-19 pandemic. “With positive results in recent weeks from vaccine trials, the light at the end of the tunnel is growing steadily brighter. Although the path ahead remains treacherous, we can begin to glimpse the end of COVID-19. But let me be clear, we simply cannot accept a world in which the poor and marginalised are trampled by the rich and powerful in the stampede for COVID-19 vaccines,” he said.
Terming the COVID-19 as a global crisis, he said the solutions must be shared equitably as global public goods, rather than as private commodities that widen inequalities.
He further highlighted the WHO’s initiatives like the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, and informed that an agreement for the purchase of 120 million low-cost, rapid diagnostic tests for low and middle-income countries has been reached.
The WHO chief further urged that the ACT Accelerator was in danger of being ‘no more than a noble gesture’, as it faces an immediate funding gap of USD 4.3 billion to lay the groundwork for the mass procurement and delivery of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.
He also said that a further USD 23.9 billion will be needed in the upcoming year for the initiative.
He urged global leaders to invest in preparedness to prevent the next pandemic, elaborating that despite years of warnings, several countries were not ready for the coronavirus pandemic.
Many of the countries that have done best are those with recent experience of responding to SARS, MERS and other disease outbreaks. Now all countries must develop the same “muscle memory”, invest in the measures that will predict, prevent, control and mitigate next crisis, he said.
Further on, he requested leaders to invest in health as the foundation of peace and prosperity, and also to invest in multilateralism to safeguard the common future.
He also highlighted the risks of underinvestment in the health sector, saying:
Health is an investment in successful societies. It enables individuals, families, communities and nations to flourish.
Dr Ghebreyesus further added that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that there is an urgent need for a globally agreed system for sharing pathogen materials and clinical samples, to facilitate the rapid development of medical countermeasures as global public goods.
According to the latest update by the Johns Hopkins University, the worldwide COVID-19 infection tally stands at 65,408,787, while over 1.5 million people have succumbed to the virus.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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