UN chief calls for $35bn funding for WHO Covid-19 program

Antonio Guterres (file photo)

New Delhi (NVI): The United Nation’s Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, called on countries for additional funding of USD 35 billion to the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 program.

The funding will go to the World Health Organization (WHO) ACT-Accelerator program that supports vaccines, treatments and diagnostics against COVID-19.

Speaking at a virtual meeting, Guterres, called for USD 35 billion more, including USD 15 billion in the next three months.

According to the UN chief, around USD 3 billion has so far been contributed but it is less than 10 per cent of what the WHO wants for the program.

“We now need USD 35 billion more to go from ‘start up’ to ‘scale up and impact. There is real urgency in these numbers. Without an infusion of USD 15 billion over the next three months, beginning immediately, we will lose the window of opportunity,” Guterres said.

The total being requested, USD 38 billion, exceeds the previously published USD 31.3 billion ACT goal and includes additional funding for health systems, in addition to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, according to the WHO

Meanwhile, the financial support has, so far, been slow as nations or governments including the European Union, Britain, Japan and the United States reach bilateral vaccine deals, forcing Guterres and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to plead to nations to contribute, as per the reports.

Earlier in August, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also pledged the commissions backing and promised USD 474 million funding to WHO’s cooperative vaccine access program COVAX, which is part of the ACT program.

-RJV