WHO says it urgently wants $7.7 billion to assist poorer nations survive delta Covid variant

Director General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on July 28, 2021.

Jaber Abdulkhaleg | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The World Health Organization is calling for $ 7.7 billion, which officials say is badly needed to help low-income countries survive the Delta-Covid variant through the provision of vaccines, oxygen and medical care.

The funds will be used for the WHO’s Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator program, which provides critical medical supplies to fight the coronavirus worldwide, said Dr. Bruce Aylward, Senior Advisor to the WHO Director-General, during a Q&A with WHO officials, which was broadcast live on the organization’s social media accounts on Tuesday. He said the funds are needed to partially cover a $ 16.8 billion shortfall that is hindering his ability to fight the pandemic in developing countries that have little to no access to vaccines.

“Aside from the moral question – people shouldn’t die if technology is available elsewhere – technology should help humanity as a whole,” said Dr. Mariangela Simao, WHO Deputy Director General for Access to Medicines, Vaccines and Medicines. “We cannot solve this pandemic in one country at a time. That is the reality. We have to help countries move closer together. Otherwise we will live with this virus much longer than we have to.”

WHO officials have set a goal to vaccinate at least 10% of the world’s population by the end of September, at least 40% by the end of this year, and 70% by the middle of next year. Some countries around the world have not yet started vaccination campaigns, while more affluent countries like the US and Israel have already fully vaccinated more than half of their populations.

Aylward said people in poorer countries who have a fever or other symptoms don’t have the test materials to know if it’s Covid or other diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia and HIV. In addition to providing doses of vaccine, Aylward said the funding will also cover Covid testing, oxygen treatments and masks.

Wealthy nations have spent trillions of dollars to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, he said. “Your economy tells you to vaccinate the world and of course we didn’t listen,” he said.

The WHO previously said it was in dire need of $ 7.7 billion to run the ACT Accelerator, and at that point was calling for an additional $ 3.8 billion to buy 760 million doses of Covid vaccine for delivery the next Year, reported Reuters.

“This is the defining moment of our time,” said Aylward. “At some point we will look back and that will be the question, these formative moments, how did you behave.”

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