ADDIS ABEBA – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said it is allocating an additional 150mln US dollars to the global fight against COVID-19.
The latest support would bring the foundation’s total funding to more than $250 million, and promising to tap its Strategic Investment Fund to help secure medical supplies and finance new products to battle the disease.
The foundation called for a “coordinated, international effort” to ensure that the pandemic doesn’t spread unchecked in low- and middle-income countries in regions including sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The announcement comes as President Trump moves to cut off funding to the World Health Organization over its response to the initial spread of COVID-19 in China.
“COVID-19 doesn’t obey border laws. Even if most countries succeed in slowing the disease over the next few months, the virus could return if the pandemic remains severe enough elsewhere,” Gate said in a state announcing the latest funding.
“The world community must understand that so long as COVID-19 is somewhere, we need to act as if it were everywhere. Beating this pandemic will require an unprecedented level of international funding and cooperation.”
The foundation says it will focus on four areas including accelerating testing and detection of the virus; and rolling out and testing new protections from the disease in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The other two areas are boosting food assistance and social payment systems in low- and middle-income countries; and supporting the development of new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.
While there is not yet a global consensus on the total resources required to turn back COVID-19, the figure is more than anyone contributor will bear.
The CEO of the foundation CEO, Mark Suzman said a coordinated, international effort bringing together all sectors will be required to mobilize the billions in funding needed in the months ahead.
“This pandemic has unleashed an extraordinary philanthropic response. While significant, it is still only one small part of what must be a coordinated effort to beat this global crisis,” said Suzman. “With all sectors working together, we can avoid the worst-case scenarios of human, economic, and social costs.”
Image: John Hopkins University stats