Rome, 22 June 2022
PRESENTATION IN ROME OF THE POLICY PAPER « LEARNING THE LESSONS, PREVENTING AND TACKLING FUTURE PANDEMICS TO ENSURE GLOBAL HEALTH », WRITTEN BY FRIENDS OF THE GLOBAL FUND EUROPE, THE ITALIAN NETWORK FOR GLOBAL HEALTH AND AIDOS
Support a WHO-coordinated global health architecture that includes all low-, middle- and high-income countries and not just the exclusive few countries participating in the G7 and G20 fora, that builds on the expertise and capacities of existing global and regional health partners in the area of health prevention, including and especially the Global Fund, avoiding further fragmentation; include civil society, associations of people affected by diseases, in the governance of international organisations and mechanisms; build and sustain strong public and community health systems rooted in the territories, thus guaranteeing access to universal health coverage.
These are some of the points that emerged at the presentation in the Senate of the policy paper ‘Learning lessons, preventing and tackling future pandemics to ensure global health’, written by Friends of the Global Fund Europe, the Italian Network for Global Health and Aidos.
The event was hosted and introduced by Democratic Party Senator Alessandro Alfieri, who also stressed that he intends to present a motion in the Foreign Affairs Committee so that at the next Global Fund replenishment conference Italy will guarantee the necessary resources in line with its tradition of support for the Fund.
The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Marina Sereni, then reviewed the various stages set out in the report, from the (unheard) alert of the scientific community, to the various panels and commissions set up during Italy’s year of presidency of the G20, clearly focused on the Covid emergency and the concept of preparedness, up to touching on the issue of access to vaccines, which is still very limited in low-income countries where only 19% of the population is vaccinated against a target set within the WHO and G20 of 70%, and in conclusion reiterated the importance of ‘finding new resources with tools that are inclusive and that take into account the important experience of the Global Fund.
In this regard, Stefania Burbo, on behalf of the Italian Network for Global Health, outlined the situation discussed within the G20 of a new Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) – reiterating the importance of representation of all countries in the world, thus avoiding a top-down approach.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, ‘the Global Fund has been at the forefront of supporting low- and middle-income countries with personal protective equipment, diagnostic tests and medicines, including oxygen,’ recalled Dianne Stewart of the Global Fund. ‘We are also able to intervene quickly in cases of conflict, such as in Ukraine, where we have increased our support to ensure continuity of treatment for HIV and TB patients both in the country and in Moldova, where many refugees have found shelter. The Global Fund will continue to invest in strengthening health systems, to protect the world from the risk of future pandemics ».
Stefano Vella, Professor of Global Health and Vice President of Friends of the Global Fund Europe concluded with a wonderful memory of when – over 20 years ago – he was at the forefront of the fight against AIDS, and spoke of the current need to « improve genomic and clinical surveillance capabilities to provide early detection and warning of pandemic threats, which will also help us prevent the spread of antimicrobial resistance”. The lesson learnt from the Covid-19 emergency, but also from the previous Sars, Aids, Ebola,’ Vella said, ‘is that we are witnessing continuous spillover from animals, which should make us realise the importance of One Health, of the intertwining of human and animal health and the environment, particularly in view of the fact that there will soon be almost 10 billion people on earth living in close contact and hyperconnected by globalisation. Aids, Ebola, Sars, Monkeypox are all animal spillovers, which should make us realise the importance of one health,’ Vella concluded.
You can read and download the policy paper ‘Learning lessons, preventing and tackling future pandemics to ensure global health’ at this link