The World Health Organisation launched a project aimed at bringing together multiple health organisations (including state or non-state actors) all across the world to ‘accelerate the development, production and equitable global access to new COVID-19 essential health technologies’. The initial set of organisations who are party to this global collaboration are the United Nations, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, BMGF, CEPI, Gavi, the Global Fund, UNITAID, Wellcome Trust, WHO, Vaccine Alliance, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers
Besides, the European Commission, France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Norway, Spain, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Malaysia have also extended their support to the project.
But two most powerful economies of the world, US and China, who were also two of the hardest-hit countries by far in the pandemic, did not come forward in its support. A US Department of State spokesperson wrote us that, “America’s world-leading scientists are working hard on a Covid-19 vaccine. We welcome serious efforts to assist in that endeavor, and look forward to learning more about the World Health Organization’s proposal. We remain deeply concerned about the WHO’s effectiveness, given that its gross failures helped fuel the current pandemic.”
The campaign, which would officially start on May 4, was launched considering the level of inequality which prevails in the world. The key aim of the project is to provide equal access to ‘safe, quality, effective, and affordable COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines’ to all nations – developed, developing and underdeveloped. Often in war against pandemics, low-incomes nations are the ones which suffer the most.
“The world needs these tools, and it needs them fast,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a 90-minute online briefing. “Past experience has taught us that even when tools are available, they have been not been equally available to all. We cannot allow that to happen. … Our shared commitment is to ensure all people have access to all the tools to defeat.”
WHO issued a statement saying, “We understand we cannot do this alone, and that we need to work together in unprecedented and inclusive partnership with all stakeholders – political leaders, public and private sector partners, civil society, academia, and all other stakeholders across society – jointly leveraging our comparative strengths and respective voices to drive towards collective solutions, an accelerated path, and access for all. We are stronger, faster and more effective working together.”
The pandemic outbreak which has infected more than 2.7 million people and taken over 191,000 lives, raised an urgent need for global medical collaboration. The organisation did not give out execution details of the project.