While the world will slowly be unpacking lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic for years to come, this much is clear – we were entirely unprepared to face an infectious disease outbreak of this magnitude – and unless drastic, fundamental changes are implemented, the world is doomed to face the same fate in the future.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation ( AHF ) urges the establishment of a minimum of a $1 trillion Global Infectious Diseases Trust Fund over the next ten years to serve as an investment in a new international sanitary order that can prevent, detect and control outbreaks that have the potential to become widespread pandemics. Following the success of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, where governments, the private sector, civil society and communities are all interconnected and engaged—this new model of funding for global public health is urgently required.
“The world cannot afford to live in denial any longer—we are now seeing firsthand the consequences of failing to prepare. And the $1 trillion price tag might seem steep – until you consider that the U.S. has lost $16 trillion in wealth in the last year alone,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “This proposed Global Infectious Diseases Trust Fund can be the mechanism for ensuring a well-funded and responsible public health institution with the assets it needs to get expedient help to the right people at the right time, anywhere in the world. Immediate action must not be delayed any longer—we urge world leaders to place this initiative at the top of the agenda at the G20 Global Health Summit in Rome this upcoming May.”
Even in the face of this global disaster, when the world has needed it most, there has been a worrisome absence of highly visible and effective leadership by any global body, which should have been led by the United Nations and its World Health Organization. It is imperative that world leaders engage with the G20 Global Health Summit and World Health Assembly, along with any other suitable forums as a top global development priority.
“It has become woefully apparent that the current framework for protecting the world from deadly outbreaks is simply not sufficient,” added Weinstein. “The global economic impact of the pandemic will be felt for decades—we must invest now to protect the future of global public health and our livelihoods, since we might not get a chance to do it before the next pandemic hits. With health being the top global priority and amid a worldwide sanitary emergency, we support Italy’s call for all G20 heads of state to attend the health summit in May and urge the creation of a $1 trillion Global Infectious Diseases Trust Fund to be financed over the next decade—it is an absolute necessity.“
There were nearly 112 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide and more than 2.4 million deaths as of Feb. 23. There are still 130 countries that have not received a single COVID-19 dose, and 10 countries have administered 75% of all vaccinations, according to the United Nations.