WHO head calls for more funding for COVID-19 project

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) global ACT-Accelerator project to fight COVID-19 needs $21.1 billion in additional funding, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday, March 12.

“ACT-Accelerator has been allocated $11 billion so far, but we still face a funding gap of $22.1 billion… We call on countries to fully fund ACT-Accelerator as the best investment in global recovery,” he said.

The WHO chief noted that the longer the funding gap remains, “the harder it is to understand.” According to him, the amount is only a fraction of the more than $13 trillion the IMF estimates that high-income countries have spent to date on fiscal stimulus.

Gebreyesus said the emergence of new strains of the coronavirus, the limited supply of vaccines, the backlog of new diagnostics and oxygen, and the lack of funding to support COVID-19 countermeasures are serious problems.

On December 4, WHO reported that the international ACT-Accelerator (“ACT-A”) program for access to vaccines, tests and therapeutics for the coronavirus is in dire need of $4.3 billion in funding. Overall, the program requires $28.2 billion in funding. If the funding gap is not addressed, low-income countries will face a delay in access to coronavirus tools next year. This could lead to a prolonged pandemic with serious economic consequences, not only for these countries but also for the global economy, the organization warned.