Following rising cases of coronavirus positive cases and outbreak of new mutations, South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has urged Group of Seven countries to help finance the World Health Organization’s programme to boost COVID-19 testing, diagnostics and vaccines.
He added that the G7 countries, which together account for more than half of global output, should support the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator to plug the $16.8 billion funding gap for this year.
Ramaphosa, who joined a summit of the club of rich democracies in England and addressed them on Saturday, said that it was important the elite nations pull resources together in sustaining the gain already recorded against the pandemic.
The president reminded the G7 nations comprising the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada that there was need for increase in testing, treatment and production of vaccines such that would be available to poorer countries unable to purchase at large-scale in defeating the deadly pandemic.
“We need to address the substantial financing gap for tests, treatments, critical supplies like oxygen and the health systems that enable testing, treatment and vaccination,” Ramaphosa was quoted as saying in a presidency statement on Sunday.
The World Health Organization’s ACT Accelerator programme for global COVID-19 treatments aims to fast-track production and ensure equitable access to tests, treatments, and vaccines in the fight against COVID-19.
“If all G7 countries met their fair share target, this initiative would be two-thirds funded – and it would be 90% funded if all G20 countries made their fair share contributions,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa also urged G7 members to support the TRIPS waiver on patents for COVID-19 vaccines and engage in negotiations that could help boost vaccine production.
Around 90% of African countries would miss a September target to vaccinate at least 10% of their populations against the virus as a third wave of the pandemic looms on the continent, the WHO has said.
“If the world is to emerge from this grave crisis, it is essential that we work together to mobilise and direct resources to those countries in the greatest need – and that we do so now,” said Ramaphosa.