Your Excellency, Harsh Vardhan, first of all, I want to thank you for your leadership as President over this past week, and the past year.
And my thanks also go to all Council members for their dedication and attention over the past eight days. I understand that eight days of remote meetings is a complex exercise, but thank you for your commitment.
You have addressed a wide range of issues, reflecting the magnitude of the health challenges we face and the immense scope of the world’s expectations of WHO.
The agenda you have reviewed covered many issues related to the “triple billion” targets, including oral health, social determinants of health, patient safety, diabetes, NCDs. , disability, HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections, eye care, antimicrobial resistance, immunization, medical devices, substandard and falsified medical products, local production, health innovation and intellectual property – and more.
You also had major discussions on strengthening WHO to better help countries tackle this armful of complex issues – program budget, sustainable funding, sexual exploitation and abuse, and even more. In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
All of this is happening in the shadow of the greatest health crisis of our time.
This Saturday, it will be a year since I declared the emergence of the new coronavirus to be a public health emergency of international concern. In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
There were fewer than 100 cases then – 98 cases, to be exact – and no deaths had been reported outside of China. In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
This week, we are expected to reach 100 million reported cases, and more than 2 million people have lost their lives.
When this Council met a year ago, I said that the world had a narrow opportunity to prevent the widespread transmission of this new virus. In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
Some have listened to this call; others did not. In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
Now vaccines give us another opportunity to bring the pandemic under control. Let’s not waste it. In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
Right now, rich countries are rolling out vaccines, while least developed countries are watching and waiting.
With each passing day, the gap grows between the haves and have-nots of this world.
In my opening remarks last Monday, I said the world is on the brink of catastrophic moral failure if it does not provide equitable access to vaccines.
A new study published yesterday by the Research Foundation of the International Chamber of Commerce confirms that it would also be an economic failure.
Study finds vaccine nationalism could cost the global economy up to 9.2 trillion United States dollars (USD), and nearly half of that cost – 4.5 trillion USD – would be induced in savings the richest. In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
By comparison, the funding gap for the Mechanism to Accelerate Access to COVID-19 Tools this year stands at USD 26 billion.
If fully funded, the ACT accelerator would earn up to $ 166 for every dollar invested.
At our press conference yesterday, the Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce called the funding gap for the ACT accelerator “negligible” – and he’s right – when it comes to stimulus packages. which have been implemented in many countries.
Vaccine nationalism may serve short-term political goals. But it is in the interest of every nation to support vaccine equity.
I would like to conclude with the challenge I launched earlier this week: together we must ensure that vaccination of health workers and the elderly is underway in all countries within the first 100 days. of this year. In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
We have 74 days left. Time is running out, and the stakes are extremely serious.
Every minute counts. In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
Once again, thank you to all of you. I hope we can meet again in person without delay. In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
Thank you. All my wishes, for a better year 2021