Bali, November 11, 2022) –
G20 health ministers have agreed to create a pandemic fund. The fund will routinely be used to repair the health system and close the budget shortfall for the next five years, depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic has been handled over the previous two years.
During the #G20updates press conference, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Health, Kunta Wibawa Dasa Nugraha, said that this agreement was an outcome of the second Health Ministerial meeting in October 2022 and will become the agenda of the talks at the G20 summit in Bali. According to him, up to 20 donor countries and three philanthropists have expressed their willingness to contribute to the effort to raise a “pandemic fund” totaling $1.4 billion.
“The deal is a great start as the discussion on the fund has already garnered such significant engagement in just a few months. This ‘pandemic fund’ commitment is on the agenda of the G20 Leaders’ Summit” , said Kunta, Friday, November 11.
Donor countries are Australia, Canada, European Commission, France, Germany, China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway , South Africa, Singapore, United Kingdom, Spain, United States and United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, the three philanthropies are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Wellcome Trust.
He added that the six main outcomes of the G20 health agenda could potentially be supported by this pandemic fund. The program includes efforts to improve genetic surveillance, encourage mobilization of health resources for medical countermeasures, and expand research and manufacturing networks for vaccines, therapies, and diagnostics (VTDs).
All nations are now aware of the need to improve the global health architecture due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has been sweeping the world since the beginning of 2020. Kunta pointed out that the pandemic has negative socio-economic impacts. Thus, alongside the challenges of sustainable energy transition, digital transformation and economic challenges, the question of the global health architecture is retained as one of the priorities.
“This is important because the WHO and World Bank projected a pandemic funding gap of approximately US$10.5 billion over the next five years when setting up the High Level Independent Panel of the G20 To bridge this gap, contributing countries should be able to balance the distribution of health services in emergencies,” he added.
He said the meeting succeeded in creating a fundraising mechanism, creating a working group and creating a government council. The meeting, in fact, succeeded in committing to raise US$1.4 billion in funds for the pandemic.
Ministers are aware that the virus knows no borders, Kunta added. Therefore, to create a more resilient health architecture to fight pandemics in the future, awareness and coordinated actions are needed. Countries must work together if the world is to get rid of the pandemic.
The evaluation of the Access to COVID-19 Tool Accelerator (ACT-A) was another commitment made at the Ministerial of Health meeting. Based on the experiences of COVID-19, countries around the world are not only short of funding, but also struggling to obtain medical supplies. Therefore, he asserted, all nations in the future must have equal access to medical care in the event of an emergency.
“The ACT Accelerator concept should be more permanent and sustainable. It’s more about health resources. This is crucial so that in addition to the funds we already have, resources for health can be used or distributed to all nations,” Kunta added.
Kunta further explained that the G20 health ministers also agreed on the importance of advancing genomic surveillance. Here, what is emphasized is the importance of interdisciplinary cooperation between countries for the prevention, preparation and response to pandemics. This requires capacity building, scientific partnerships and knowledge sharing.
The Indonesian G20 Presidency promotes the importance of surveillance for countries to support the rapid exchange of pathogen data on a reliable platform. However, Kunta pointed out that we not only promote pathogen sharing, but also support benefit sharing, which is beneficial not only between countries, but also for global and regional benefits.
On the other hand, Kunta said that Indonesia, through Bio Farma, is developing a vaccine research and manufacturing center. Along with South Africa, Indonesia is one of the countries receiving mRNA manufacturing from the WHO.
At the end of the JFHMM meeting, the Ministers of Health and Finance will agree on this pandemic fund so that this fund can be officially used directly by countries for preparedness and vigilance to fight against future pandemics.