G20 aims to raise $1.5 billion to prevent and prepare for future pandemics




The Group of 20 (G20) plans to raise as much as $1.5 billion by the end of this year to build infrastructure to prevent and prepare for possible pandemics in the future, said Budi Gunadi Sadikin, Indonesian Minister of Health and current host of the G20.

The commitment to create the fund, called the Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF), was agreed by the health ministers of the G20 members, as well as the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), during of the first Health Ministerial Meeting (HWG) held on June 20-21 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Sadikin told a press briefing on Thursday that so far several countries and a few charitable foundations have pledged to donate a total of $1.1 billion, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The fund will be hosted by the World Bank, while the WHO will advise on the implementation and the allocation of money.

The Indonesian Minister of Health has drawn up several allocation plans for the fund, including creating and improving access to emergency medical countermeasures, creating a global network of genomic surveillance laboratories and the creation of global centers for research and manufacturing.

Sadikin added that the money will be used to produce emergency tools needed for rapid and equitable responses to future pandemics, including vaccines, therapies, drugs, personal protective equipment and test kits, which will also be distributed to all countries once another pandemic strikes.

The minister said G20 members have agreed they need connected sequencing labs to identify and share genome sequence data of pathogens that can cause outbreaks.

“By having such labs connected, we can better anticipate or weather an outbreak. We can get insights faster with stronger data-sharing mechanisms, then diagnose faster, and then we can produce vaccines faster.”

He added that the G20 forum had agreed to build several additional global research and manufacturing hubs in the Global South for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

Most countries in the South are underdeveloped and developing countries, which have encountered more difficulties in coping with the pandemic and gaining access to vaccines.

Sadikin said the ideal countries to build the hubs in are those with large populations.

“Thus, countries in the South can develop and deliver vaccines to their populations more quickly and equitably.”

Local media reported that WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus directly attended the HWG, and he estimated that the financial need to strengthen global health security reached $31 billion per year.

“WHO and the World Bank have estimated that we need $31 billion each year to strengthen global health security. Two-thirds of that could come from existing resources, but that leaves a $10 billion shortfall. per year,” he said.

Ghebreyesus suggested that the FIF be overseen by a Board and Advisory Group that would be supported by the joint World Bank and WHO Secretariat, based in Washington.

–IANS

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(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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