Several health ministers of the ECOWAS nations ask for a World Health Assembly vote on principles of vaccine equity and the creation of a global pandemic insurance fund.
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND—Several health ministers of the West African Health Organization, led by Director General Professor Stanley Okolo of Nigeria, will request a vote on the creation of an international pandemic insurance fund, along with other principles of global vaccine access, at a special session of the World Health Assembly November 29 – December 1 2021. In order to fund the pandemic insurance fund, the proposal calls upon the G20 countries to collectively donate $10 billion per year, or about 0.01% of global GDP.
This proposal is framed in an open letter to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization. Dr. Mosoka Fallah of Liberia led the drafting effort, and it was signed by many African researchers and veterans of the 2014 Ebola epidemic, along with other international leading scientists.
In addition to advocating for the creation of a pandemic insurance fund, the letter calls upon all countries with surplus vaccines to donate them to COVAX or directly to countries in need and calls upon pharmaceutical companies to set up vaccine development facilities in low- and middle-income countries.
High-income countries contain 16% of the world’s population but purchased 50% of the immediately available vaccine supply. Allowing the virus to spread unchecked through most of the world has been not only a humanitarian crisis, but also debilitating to efforts to fight the virus, as it mutated and became more dangerous. This situation must not be repeated in future pandemics, and the World Health Assembly should commit to the goals outlined in the letter.
1Day Africa, headed by Zacharia Kafuko of Zambia, brought the letter to the attention of the West African Health Organization and helped coordinate plans to sign. 1Day Africa is dedicated to the development of a self-sufficient African medical community and to bolstering and promoting African medical and scientific research.
*1Day Sooner is a non-profit organization advocating for people who want to participate in high-risk, high-reward medical trials.