Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says there is a need for COVID-19 vaccines to be subsidised so that low-income countries can easily get them.
This is just as the foundation approved the release of $250m to accelerate development and equitable distribution of COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines to end the pandemic.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Gates Foundation, Mark Suzman, said this during a virtual press conference on Wednesday.
Suzman said, “At the Gates Foundation, we believe that actually, it is appropriate that the world should be trying to subsidise a lot of this work for the poorest developing countries not just in Africa but in other parts of the world because the needs are so great.
“We would prefer them (poorer countries) to be spending on strengthening domestic health systems which are underfunded. And there are ways in which you can strengthen health systems to help accelerate COVID-19 vaccine rollout or treatment for COVID-19 which can actually strengthen future vaccine distribution for other vaccines and other treatments down the road.”
The foundation subsequently announced the release of $250m for the equitable distribution of COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines to end the pandemic.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Gates Foundation said the new release would bring the total amount of money it had on the COVID-19 response to $1.75bn.
The statement read in part, “Today’s announcement brings the foundation’s total commitments to the global COVID-19 response to $1.75bn. This draws from three sources, including new funding commitments above the foundation’s planned annual programme budget; at-risk financing from the foundation’s Strategic Investment Fund; and a portion of funds channelled from foundation programmes where grantees identified urgent needs or had unique expertise to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.”
The foundation called for global commitments to making the innovations available in 2021 to everyone who needs them.
Co-founder of the Foundation, Melinda Gates, said there was a need for world leaders to show total commitment.
She said, “Everyone everywhere deserves to benefit from the science developed in 2020. We are confident that the world will get better in 2021.”
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.
The post COVID-19 vaccines should be subsidised, says Gates Foundation appeared first on Healthwise.