African Insight Informs AHF’s Pandemic Governance and Funding Recommendations

In Global Advocacy, Global Featured, News by Denys Nazarov

In a collaborative effort to reshape global health policy discourse, the AHF Global Public Health Institute, in partnership with the University of Miami Public Health Policy Lab and AHF Africa Bureau, has released a critical report titled “African Insights: Recommendations for Global Pandemic Governance and Funding 2023.”

The report is comprised of eleven recommendations derived from a set of consultations with key non-governmental African global public health experts and thought leaders on critical issues of global health. Notably, this report offers recommendations on the governance of global health financing, the WHO Pandemic Agreement, and regional strategies for pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response (PPPR). It also highlights the importance of further integrating African voices in the global health discourse, ensuring that the region’s specific needs and insights are adequately addressed in global pandemic deliberations.

Member states of the World Health Organization are currently negotiating the contents of the Pandemic Agreement, which notably lacks meaningful and effective mechanisms for accountability. This consultation underscores that without a robust accountability system, equitable access to global public health goods before and during pandemics will not be achieved. “Relying solely on the goodwill of countries has proven to be wholly inadequate in the past, and will prove again to have disastrous consequences because both empirical evidence and experience demonstrate that accountability and enforcement mechanisms are an essential component for agreements such as this to achieve their intended objective,” said Jorge Saavedra, Executive Director of the AHF Global Public Health Institute.

Because there is much uncertainty on whether the Pandemic Agreement will deliver on its promises, the report recommends that global health financing mechanisms work hand-in-hand with regions to support a regionally driven approach to PPPR. This includes a special emphasis on strengthening regional institutions like the Africa CDC and the yet-to-be launched Africa Epidemic Fund.

“While cautiously optimistic that some progress will be made through global efforts like the WHO Pandemic Agreement and the Pandemic Fund, experience has shown that strong regional resilience is necessary to safeguard the public health of African nations,” said Dr. Penninah Iutung, AHF Africa Bureau Chief. “The recommendations in this report are a step toward promoting a balanced approach that combines rational global action with an effective regional strategy.”

The report also emphasizes that without adequate and sustainable global health financing, it is unlikely that low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) will be able to build an adequate level of PPPR capacity and resilience. To this end, the report includes a series of recommendations aimed at the Pandemic Fund, the global financing mechanism established to provide LMICs and regions with critical gap-financing for PPPR.

Among these recommendations is a plea for the Board of the Pandemic Fund to work with the WHO Intergovernmental Negotiating Body, the entity charged with drafting and negotiating the Pandemic Agreement, to integrate its fund into the Agreement. Rather than creating two additional financing mechanisms for PPPR, as it is currently proposed in the Negotiating Text of the WHO Agreement, the Pandemic Fund would become the instrument’s official financing mechanisms for LMICs. Creating additional mechanisms for PPPR, with overlapping functions with the Pandemic Fund and the well-established Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria, could be counterproductive and harm the existing global health financing ecosystem.

As the world continues to grapple with health challenges, this report aims for the ears of policymakers ahead of crucial negotiations that are currently underway in the global stage.

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