As World Health Organization Member States and other constituents convene at the sixth meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body in Geneva, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) respectfully disagrees with recent comments by the WHO’s Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that “groups with vested interests” are attempting to harm pandemic accord negotiations.
“We object to the notion that parties with ‘vested interests,’ who want to see a meaningful and enforceable draft of a new pandemic accord – one that is transparent, accountable, and cooperative – are attempting to disrupt negotiations at the current INB meeting,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “They’re likely pointing out that it is, in fact, a WHO power grab, which has a subpar record at best in handling global public health emergencies. The WHO mishandled much of the COVID-19 response, including whitewashing the pandemic’s origins, it botched COVAX, it wants to block the Africa CDC from declaring health emergencies on the continent, and it has rampant conflicts of interest in the new World Bank Pandemic Fund. We urge a truly open dialogue in these INB negotiations and call on the WHO to consider the input of all groups involved in the talks.”
As part of a new Global Public Health Convention, AHF has called for a new framework that works for all countries, not just the super-rich, during public health crises. Increasing the existing WHO sphere of influence, protecting big pharma, and allowing only wealthy countries to lead the dance is not the answer. We must do better collectively if the world is to be positioned to prevent, prepare for, and respond to future inevitable pandemics.