The DG of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has described health as the essential underpinning of productive, resilient and stable economies. He described the COVID-19 pandemic as a powerful demonstration that health is not a by-product of growth. The DG said this while delivering opening remarks at the G20 Leaders Summit.
He threw his weight behind the call earlier this week for an immediate investment of US$4.5 billion for vaccines.
“This is the smart thing to do, both for public health and to restore growth and jobs. Fair allocation of vaccines is central to the pandemic endgame, and a faster global recovery,” Tedros said.
He added that the time has come for the world to improve its preparedness for the next pandemic.
“To prevent future outbreaks and their impact on lives, livelihoods and economies, all countries must invest in preparedness and universal health coverage,” the WHO told G20 leaders.
He announced that global health body has completed an assessment of gaps in pandemic preparedness and is now offering concrete recommendations for G20 countries, urging member countries to implement them.
Representing two-thirds of the world’s population and 80% of the global economy, Tedros said the G20 has a unique leadership role to play in fostering the solidarity that is needed to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You can ensure vaccines are allocated fairly, as global public goods. You can implement the International Health Regulations, at home and abroad. And you can address the vulnerabilities and inequalities at the root of this pandemic. A vaccine will help to control the pandemic. But there’s no vaccine for poverty, hunger, climate change or inequality.”
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