In an effort to end the COVID-19 pandemic the World Health Organisation (WHO) has asked the 55 wealthiest countries to raise $23 billion in funding. The funding will be used by the Acess to COVID-19 Tools or ACT Accelerator programme. This programme was launched to develop and deploy essential tools like tests and vaccines to many countries.
Of the 1.4 billion COVID-19 tests used globally, a mere 22 million were used by low-income countries. Making it an extremely low 0.4% of the total COVID-19 tests done. The 55 countries were asked to give ‘fair-share’. The “fair-share” was calculated based on the country’s economic standing.
Last year, only 6 countries had met or exceeded their ‘fair-share’ commitments. They were Germany, Canada, Kuwait, Norway, Sweden and Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, China met only 3% of what was asked and the USA met only 64% of its ask. This resulted in the last ACT accelerator being short of $14 billion.
With the requested funds, WHO with its ACT accelerator scheme will be able to give vaccines to middle and low-income countries and achieve the global target of 70% coverage in all countries by mid-2022. They will also be able to personal protective gear and oxygen supply to low-income countries.