World Health Organization lauds German pledge
The World Health Organization (WHO) has welcomed Germany’s commitment to meet its “fair share” of the ACT-Accelerator (ACT-A) 2021/2022 budget.
ACT-A is a WHO initiative to improve significantly access to COVID-19 medical countermeasures in low income countries.
Germany this year pledged a contribution of USD 1.22 billion towards ACT-A’s work to ease access to COVID-19 treatments, tests, vaccines, and personal protective equipment (PPE). The contribution made Germany the first of 55 countries the WHO has urged to support the ACT-A effort. “Fair shares” are calculated based on the size of a country’s national economy and what they would gain from faster recovery of the global economy and trade.
Germany added a further USD 253 million to support supplementary measures for the in-country COVID-19 response, complementary to the ACT-A mission. According to the WHO, the pledge reinforces the strong support Germany has given ACT-A since it was established in 2020, with the country also exceeding its fair share in the initiative’s 2020/2021 budget.
At the time the latest commitment was made, WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “I wish to thank Germany for showing such leadership in making this early pledge to address the ACT-Accelerator’s urgent needs. We call on other countries to follow Germany's lead in contributing their fair share, as we seek to end the acute phase of the pandemic this year. Only through acting together can we achieve this goal.”
The ACT-Accelerator is organized into four pillars of work: diagnostics, treatment, vaccines, and health system reinforcement. The WHO says each pillar is vital to the overall effort and involves innovation and collaboration.
Recently, the WHO published the ACT Accelerator Two-Year Impact Report to mark the initiative’s second anniversary. Among the achievements highlighted are enabling 40 countries to start their COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, delivering more than 1.4 billion vaccine doses to 145 countries through COVAX, helping to build the sequencing capacity in Southern Africa, which first detected the Omicron variant, and negotiating unprecedented deals with the world’s largest oxygen suppliers to increase access in more than 120 low and middle income countries.
At the press conference on April 26, the WHO Director General spoke about the ACT-Accelerator’s continuing mission. He said that persistent global gaps in access to tests, vaccines, and treatments highlight why the initiative remains crucial to the global response to COVID-19.
Dr.Ghebreyesus added, “I’m pleased that … United States President Joe Biden will hold a Global COVID-19 Summit with world leaders, to maintain the high-level attention that this ongoing pandemic deserves. It will take all countries, regardless of income level, to commit to steps that can bring the pandemic to an end, end inequities, save lives, prevent suffering, and help get economies back on track.“