G20 launches initiative for health tools needed to combat the pandemic

Saudi Arabia Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan

Following the footsteps of WHO, the group of 20 rich and emerging economies on April 26 launched a combined international initiative to accelerate the access of health tools needed to fight the new coronavirus. The COVID-19 infection which started in the Chinese city of Wuhan has now spiralled out to infect almost 3 million people across the world.

The finance minister of Saudi Arabia, the current G20 chair, said the group is also still working to bridge an estimated $8bn funding gap to combat the pandemic.

“The G20 will continue reinforcing global cooperation on all fronts, and most importantly, on closing the immediate health financing gap,” the minister, Mohammed al-Jadaan, said in a statement launching the “Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator” initiative.

He added that “the international community is still facing extraordinary uncertainty about the depth and duration of this health crisis”, repeating its call on all countries, non-governmental organizations, philanthropists and the private sector to help close the financing gap.

News comes two days after the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched a global and time-limited collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. The initial group of health care actors, private sector partners and other stakeholders have come together to launch the ‘Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator’.

Speaking at the live-streamed launch event, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the unprecedented global crisis due to the coronavirus has met with an unprecedented global response. The WHO chief also said that the new Act Accelerator brings together the combined power of several organizations to work with speed and scale to ensure all people have access to all the tools to defeat COVID-19.
According to the ACT Accelerator, the stakeholders have committed to an “unprecedented level of partnership” with proactively engaging, aligning and coordinating efforts, building on existing collaborations, collectively devising solutions, and grounding partnership in transparency, and science. They have recognised the significant amount of critical work, investment and initiatives already ongoing around the world to expedite the development and deployment of innovative COVID-19 related products and interventions. 

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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