WHO Launches ‘COVID-19 Technology Access Pool’ For Equitable Access To Life-saving Tech
- WHO launched the ‘COVID-19 Technology Access Pool’ on Saturday, May 30. This comes after at least 37 countries jointly appealed to the World Health Organisation for common ownership of vaccines, medicines and other diagnostic tools to combat the global health crisis.
- While the total number of COVID-19 cases worldwide has now surpassed 5.9 million, these countries want collective ownership of COVID-19 treatment since patent laws can act as a barrier to the sharing of crucial supplies amid the outbreak.
- While the call has been lauded by Doctors Without Borders, a drug industry alliance has posed doubt about the capability of the pool to broaden access to COVID-19 treatment, as per reports. Meanwhile, as the COVID-19 infection continues to spread, more than 100 vaccines are in various developmental stages but none has been approved for mass production yet.
- The 37 nations had originally proposed resource pooling in March with an aim to provide a single stop for all the scientific data regarding the pandemic and its treatment as the disease has now killed at least 364,357 people worldwide.
- WHO has also issued a ‘Solidarity Call to Action’ urging other stakeholders of the UN health agency to join the cause. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in an online press conference that “WHO recognises the important role that patents play in fuelling innovation but this is a time when people must take priority.”
- The launch of COVID-19 Technology Access Pool by the WHO came just days after UN health agency announced the creation of a new foundation that will support the UN agency’s efforts in enhancing “quantity and quality” of funds by finding new sources including the general public.
- Dr. Ghebreyesus declared that the independent grant-making entity will assist the organisation in delivering the “triple billion” goals that aim to “protect 1 billion people from health emergencies; extend universal health coverage to 1 billion people; and assure healthy lives and wellbeing to 1 billion people by 2023.”
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO Constitution, which establishes the agency’s governing structure and principles, states its main objective as “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.”
- Headquarters–Geneva, Switzerland
- Founded – 7 April 1948
- Director-General– Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
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