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WHO: We must prepare for the next pandemic together, now

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WHO: We must prepare for the next pandemic together, now

WHO has three messages to share at the 75th UN General Assembly (UNGA).

According to WHO, the first is about equitable access to COVID-19 tools. At UNGA, WHO will call on world leaders to support the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT)-Accelerator, a unique international collaboration to fast-track the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines globally, while strengthening health systems.

Pooling investments globally, the ACT-Accelerator provides a chance for all countries to access a greater number of tools more quickly, sharing the risks and costs together.

The ACT-Accelerator needs US$35 billion to fast-track the development, procurement and distribution of 2 billion vaccine doses, 245 million treatments and 500 million tests over the next year.

The second message is about maintaining the momentum towards achieving the sustainable development goals. The pandemic risks unravelling decades of gains made in health and development.

According to a recent WHO survey, 90% of countries are experiencing disruptions to essential health services due to the pandemic. The most frequently disrupted areas reported include routine immunization, non-communicable diseases diagnosis and treatment, family planning and contraception, treatment for mental health disorders, and cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Finally, we must prepare for the next pandemic together, now. COVID-19 has shown us that the world was woefully unprepared – despite the many warning signs and warnings.

A year ago at UNGA, the independent Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) warned of the threat of a pandemic, calling for global leaders to take urgent, united action to prepare.

Earlier this week, the GPMB issued its 2020 report “World in disorder”. The report looks at a world disorientated by COVID-19, suffering from a lack of leadership and timely action. It calls for a renewed commitment to multilateralism and to WHO.

At UNGA, WHO will call on all citizens and leaders to support the five actions outlined in the GPMB 2020 report: responsible leadership; engaged citizenship; strong and agile systems for health security; sustained investment and robust global governance of preparedness.

UzA