Covid-19: Sereni, international financial response needed

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ROME, MARCH 23 – “Searching for tools that could help us in the fight against Covid-19, ACT-A was conceived a year ago these days as a mechanism that effectively is helping to cope with the global pandemic crisis”, the Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Marina Sereni said today at the meeting of the Facilitation Council of the ACT Accelerator (Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator, ACT-A), chaired by Norwegian Minister for International Development, Dag-Inge Ulstein, and South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, and co-hosted by WHO Director-General Tedros Gebreyesus and EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides.

True to its name,” Sereni continued, “ACT-A has accelerated the response to the health crisis. Thanks to its efforts, we made significant progress on Covid-19 treatment, testing, and vaccines in less than a year. But now we need to produce more vaccines, distribute them fairly and secure funding for health globally. Overcoming bottlenecks is mandatory to achieve such goals. We are fully aware that delays prolong the crisis and postpone recovery. It is a momentous but indispensable task. We must engage with the private sector to find the best solutions”.

“The delivery of vaccines through Covax, the international programme for equitable access to vaccines,” said the Vice Minister, “has led to some successes in the effort to protect the most exposed and vulnerable groups. Italy considers this programme the best tool for an equitable global distribution of vaccines. As President of the G20, we are committed to facilitating a multilateral and coordinated response to the virus, inspired by the principle of solidarity. But it is not enough. New innovative financing methods are needed to strengthen health globally.  An independent working group was created at the G20 finance ministers’ level to respond to the pandemics, also financially, and to identify the most effective tools to face global health challenges. Vice Minister Sereni concluded by saying that all this will be discussed at the Global Health Summit scheduled for 21 May in Rome as part of our G20 Presidency”. (@OnuItalia)