The G20 health ministers have agreed to establish a pandemic fund. The fund will be commonly used to fix the health system and close the budget gap for the following five years, based on how the COVID-19 pandemic has been handled in the previous two years.
At the #G20updates press conference, Secretary General of the Ministry of Health Kunta Wibawa Dasa Nugraha stated that this agreement was the outcome of the second Health Ministerial Meeting in October 2022 and would become the agenda of discussions at the G20 Summit in Bali. According to him, up to 20 donor countries and three philanthropists have expressed willingness to contribute to the effort to raise “pandemic fund” totaling US$1.4 billion.
“The agreement is an excellent place to start because the fund discussion has already garnered such a significant commitment in just a few months. This ‘pandemic fund’ commitment is included in the agenda of the G20 leaders’ summit,” said Kunta, Friday, Nov. 11.
The donor countries are Australia, Canada, European Commission, France, Germany, China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Spain, the United States, and UAE. Meanwhile, the three philanthropies are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Wellcome Trust.
He continued that the six main outcomes of the G20 health agenda may potentially be supported by this pandemic fund. The agenda includes efforts to improve genetic surveillance, encourage the mobilization of health resources for medical countermeasures, and expand research and manufacturing networks for vaccines, therapies, and diagnostics (VTD).
All nations are now aware of the need to improve the global health architecture because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has been sweeping the globe since the beginning of 2020. Kunta stressed that the pandemic has negative socio-economic impacts. Therefore, along with the issues of the sustainable energy transition, digital transformation, and economic issues, the issue of global health architecture is chosen as one of the priorities.
“This is significant because the WHO and the World Bank have projected a pandemic financing gap of around US$10.5 billion over the following five years during the implementation of the high-level independent panel of the G20. To close this gap, contributing countries are expected to be able to balance the distribution of health services in times of emergencies,” he added.
He stated that the meeting was successful in creating a mechanism for fundraising, creating a task force, and creating a government board. The meeting, in fact, has managed to reach a commitment to raise US$1.4 billion in pandemic funds.
Ministers are aware that the virus knows no border, Kunta added. Therefore, to create a more resilient health architecture in order to combat pandemics in the future, awareness and coordinated actions are required. Countries must work together if the globe is to be rid of the pandemic.
The evaluation of the Access to COVID-19 Tool Accelerator (ACT-A) was another commitment made at the Health Ministerial Meeting. Based on COVID-19 experiences, countries around the world not only lack funding but also have trouble obtaining medical supplies. Therefore, he asserted, all nations in the future must have equal access to medical care in an emergency.
“The ACT Accelerator concept should be more permanent and sustainable. This is more about health resources. This is crucial so that, in addition to the funds we already have, the resources for health can be used by or distributed to all nations,” Kunta added.
Kunta further explained that the G20 Health Ministers also concurred on the significance of advancing genomic surveillance. Here, what is emphasized is the importance of interdisciplinary cooperation between countries for pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. This requires capacity building, scientific partnerships, and knowledge sharing.
Indonesia’s G20 presidency promotes the importance of surveillance so that countries support the timely exchange of pathogen data on a reliable platform. However, Kunta emphasized that we not only encourage sharing of pathogens but also support benefit sharing, which is advantageous not only between countries but also for global and regional benefits.
On the other hand, Kunta said that Indonesia through Bio Farma is developing a vaccine research and manufacturing center. Along with South Africa, Indonesia is one of the countries that receives WHO mRNA manufacturing.
At the conclusion of the JFHMM meeting, the Health and Finance Ministers will mutually agree on this pandemic fund so that this fund can officially be directly utilized by countries for readiness and vigilance to fight future pandemics.Source: Mirage News