21 May 2021
ROME – G20 leaders and heads of international and regional organizations reaffirmed their commitment to fight pandemics and support the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator –a ground breaking collaboration of global partners to accelerate the development, production and equitable delivery of new tests, treatments, vaccines and health supplies worldwide.
Meeting in Rome in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders stressed the urgent need to increase investments in health and build inclusive and resilient health systems to prepare the world against pandemics and respond to infectious diseases.
The Global Health Summit was co-chaired by Italy, the chair of the G-20, and the European Commission.
“Investing in formal and community health systems worldwide is critical to our global health security and is the only way we will be able to fight existing epidemics like HIV, TB and malaria, new pandemics like COVID-19, and future health threats,” said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “As demonstrated by the current COVID-19 crisis, new pandemics and health emergencies can have a devastating knock-on impact on the fight against existing pandemics like HIV, TB and malaria.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused more than 3 million deaths, overwhelmed health systems and disrupted economies and societies around the world. The pandemic is also threatening to destroy decades of progress in the fight against HIV, TB and malaria.
The Global Fund responded immediately to the COVID-19 pandemic and has already provided more than US$1 billion to help countries fight COVID-19 with critical tests, treatments and medical supplies, protect frontline health workers, adapt lifesaving HIV, TB and malaria programs, and reinforce fragile systems for health.
The Global Fund is now the primary channel for providing grant support to low- and middle-income countries for COVID-19 tests, treatments (including medical oxygen), personal protective equipment (PPE) and critical elements of health system strengthening.
The Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response Mechanism supports countries to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on programs to fight HIV, TB and malaria, and finances improvements in health and community systems. The Global Fund is encouraging countries to apply for fast-track funding through the COVID-19 Response Mechanism to prepare for the next waves, including with diagnostic tests, PPE, and treatments. So far, the COVID-19 Response Mechanism for 2021 has approved five fast-track funding requests for a total of US$111 million and is reviewing more than a dozen requests.
The Global Fund helped create the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and is co-leading on two of its four pillars – the Diagnostics Pillar and the Health Systems Connector. The Global Fund is also supporting on procurement and distribution for the Therapeutics Pillar.