UK backs new international campaign to prevent and prepare for future pandemics

  • UK to donate £25m to found new World Bank fund to prevent, prepare for and respond to devastating future pandemics
  • Investing in preventing future pandemics can prevent the devastating human and economic impact of COVID-19 from happening again

The Prime Minister has announced £25million in British aid supporting a new fund to ensure the world is better prepared to beat future pandemics.

Hosted by the World Bank, the “Intermediate Financial Fund” for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response will provide funding to countries whose health systems are dangerously ill-prepared for the challenges caused by major infectious disease outbreaks. This will allow them to respond quickly and, where possible, contain outbreaks before they spread across the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed at least 6.2 million lives worldwide and caused widespread economic devastation. Preventing a pandemic like this from happening again will require a concerted and coordinated international effort.

At the G7 summit today (Monday), leaders will discuss the importance of helping countries manage Covid as an endemic disease and the urgent need to invest in preparedness and other measures to prevent history from repeating itself.

The new fund will help fill some of the funding gaps revealed by COVID-19, in particular insufficient funding for national health systems preparedness and disease surveillance at national, regional and global levels. Crucially, the fund can help catalyze countries’ own financing, so that the world is as equipped as possible whenever a new public health risk emerges and wherever it arises.

The Prime Minister said:

“As the worst days of the coronavirus pandemic are, thankfully, behind us, we cannot be complacent. The next potential pandemic could arise at any time and with it the devastating human and economic consequences we have suffered over the past two and a half years.

“We need to make sure we learn from the lessons of COVID-19 and be better prepared next time. We owe it to the people of the world to say “never again”.

The risk of a pandemic of the magnitude of COVID-19 occurring within the next 25 years could be as high as 50%, and a key lesson from the coronavirus pandemic is that even small investments in pandemic preparedness can have huge yields. By contributing to short-term preparedness, we can avoid enormous long-term economic damage.

Under Britain’s G7 Presidency last year, the Prime Minister took forward international work on pandemic preparedness under his ‘five-point plan’ and 100-day mission, the work of which was led by Sir Patrick Vallance. This included launching a global network of zoonotic disease research centers, increasing global capacity to manufacture treatments and vaccines, designing a new early warning system and adopting global protocols. for a future health emergency.

The UK also hosted a global pandemic preparedness summit in March which raised more than £1.2bn to develop variant-proof coronavirus vaccines and speed the process. developing vaccines against future health threats so that it can be done in less than 100 days.

David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, said:

“I welcome the UK’s support for the new Financial Intermediary Fund to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response functions in developing countries.

“The fund will provide a dedicated stream of additional long-term financing to complement the work of existing institutions and operate to high standards of transparency and accountability.

“COVID-19 has highlighted the urgent need for coordinated action to strengthen health systems and mobilize additional resources to prepare for the next pandemic in countries, regions and globally.

At the G7 summit last year, the UK galvanized international action to donate 870 million coronavirus vaccines to those in need. This commitment, combined with UK and other investment to support the development and rapid scale-up of COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing, has turned the tide on Covid around the world. Two-thirds of the world’s population have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine.

The supply of coronavirus vaccines now exceeds demand and the UK’s efforts are therefore focused on action to end the acute phase of the pandemic, helping countries manage COVID-19 as endemic disease and prepare for the next health threat.

Governments, NGOs and private donors have been encouraged to donate to the Financial Intermediary Fund, called for by G20 finance ministers in April.

The funding announced by the Prime Minister today will make the UK a founding donor to the fund, alongside the US, EU and others.


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