The World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday its plan to secure and deploy vaccines, tests and treatments to combat the Covid-19 pandemic needed US$23.4 billion over the next 12 months.
Cash for WHO’s Access to Covid Tools Accelerator – aimed at developing, producing, procuring and distributing tools to tackle the pandemic – would help fight global inequity in the rollout.
WHO said delivering on its plan could help prevent at least five million potential additional deaths on top of the almost five million already recorded, according to an AFP tally from official sources.
“The ACT-Accelerator partnership of leading global health agencies needs US$23.4 billion to help the most at-risk countries secure and deploy Covid-19 tools between now and September 2022,” WHO said in a statement.
“This figure pales in comparison to the trillions of dollars in economic losses caused by the pandemic and the cost of stimulus plans to support national recoveries.”
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that “to end the pandemic, governments, manufacturers and donors must fully fund the ACT-Accelerator to address inequities in access to Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatments”.
“Fully funding the ACT-Accelerator is a global health security imperative for us all – the time to act is now.”
WHO said its plan would see ACT-A shift towards a more targeted focus on addressing the supply gaps in poorer countries.
“Nowhere is this inequity more apparent than on the African continent, where just 8% of the population has received a single dose of Covid-19 vaccine,” said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.